A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday accused two Nigerian men of having links with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and of receiving funds from the militant group and recruiting members to train in Yemen. The two individuals, Olaniyi Lawal, 31, and Luqman Babatunde, 30, both pleaded not guilty at the court in the capital, Abuja.
They are charged with receiving funds from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and seeking to “further the objectives” of the group as court papers revealed that the two men were accused of receiving “monies in Saudi riyals and US dollars equivalent to one million naira ($6 200) from a terrorist organization known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula”. The information also show that they plan to use the money “to recruit and transport prospective members of a terrorist group to Yemen”, thereby violating Nigeria’s anti-terrorism law.
Meanwhile, the Federal High Court in Abuja adjourned to October 2 after the accused persons pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the six-count charge leveled against them. The presiding Judge, Justice Gladys Olotu ordered that they be remanded in prison until then.
There has been no suggestion so far that the two men – who are believed to originally hail from the south – are connected to Boko Haram, which is mostly active in the northern part of Nigeria.