Tukur Mamu, the media consultant to a popular Islamic cleric, Ahmed Gumi, was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) over his alleged links to terrorist groups and N2bn ransom racketeering.
Why Tukur Mamu Was Arrested
KanyiDaily had reported how Mamu, who was at the forefront of negotiations for the release of the Abuja-Kaduna train captives, was arrested with his family in Cairo, Egypt’s capital.
The publisher of Desert Herald was detained with his family members at Cairo International Airport while they were on their way for lesser hajj in Saudi Arabia.
Mamu told newsmen that he left Nigeria on Tuesday and was detained by Egyptian security agencies for scrutiny, but nothing incriminating was found on him.
He accused the federal government of attempting to detain him in another country like the Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, better known as Sunday Igboho.
The Egyptian authorities repatriated Mamu back to Nigeria before he was arrested again by DSS operatives at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano.
The Kaduna publisher, who was involved in the controversial negotiations that led to the release of several abducted passengers of the March 28 Abuja-Kaduna train attack, was arrested together with his family by DSS operatives shortly after he was repatriated to Nigeria from Egypt.
Family sources said Mamu, who was on his way to Saudi Arabia for lesser Hajj was travelling alongside his two wives; Fatima Bashir Mamu and Aisha Salisu Mamu as well as his eldest son, Faisal Tukur Mamu, and his brother-in-law Ibrahim Hassan Tinja.
Daily Trust gathered from reliable security sources that the bandit’s negotiator was arrested for his alleged involvement in collecting ransom and taking same to terrorists in exchange for kidnapped victims.
Sources said beyond his relationship with insurgents in Nigeria, Mamu was also arrested because of his “Strong ties with a terror group in Egypt, especially in Sinai and by extension Libya, the Sahel and other parts of West Africa, and the middle- east on the other side.
A source in one of the intelligence outfits in Nigeria said Mamu’s arrest was beyond his activities in Nigeria, stressing that the Kaduna publisher was on international watchlist.
“He was arrested in Egypt based on Advance Passenger Information (API) because he came under international security scrutiny following his activities here at home and beyond the shores of Nigeria shortly after the Kaduna train attack,” he said.
“I can assure you that Mamu has high linkage with terror groups in Egypt, especially in Sinai and by extension Libya, the Sahel and other parts of West Africa on this side, and the middle- east on the other side.
“He has collected over N2bn in ransom for terrorists with some of the payments made in US dollars by desperate families and negotiated the release of their loved ones…We have been monitoring all his activities and evidence abound to hold him to account,” he said.
When told that Mamu had shortly before his repatriation from Cairo said there was an attempt to treat him like Nnamdi Kanu, the source said, “Egyptian authorities are not subordinated to the dictate of Nigerian authorities. They deported him based on the facts at their disposal and based on global standard.”
Another source said they monitored Mamu’s activities for long before he was flagged both at home and abroad. “Can he tell the world his legitimate source of income to justify his lifestyle? Had it been we wanted, we could have picked him in his house in Kaduna but because what he is doing has global implications, we allowed the international law to take its cause.”
Yet, another security source with knowledge of the situation told our reporters that Mamu was intercepted because of an intelligence report over a scheduled meeting with some persons believed to be leaders of the terrorists who conducted the Kaduna train attack.
“He scheduled many things in his itinerary including a medical check-up and lesser hajj but we believed it was just a decoy for him to carry out nefarious activities. He plans to end up in Dubai where he has made a rendezvous with those people,” he said.
The source, who asked not to be named for lacking authority to speak on the operation, said communication between Mamu and the suspected terrorist leaders have been intercepted, adding that there was fear over what could be the outcome of the planned meeting.
Aside from this, he said, there are many allegations against the negotiator around the ransom paid to secure the release of the train passengers.
“There are reported inconsistencies between monies paid and what was actually remitted to the kidnappers. He is also seen as pandering too much to the side of the terrorists than the people and government. What pained us was the recent move to pay N25 million to secure the release of the remaining 23 persons but at the last minute, he thwarted the arrangement insisting on a much higher figure.”
However, Mamu told Daily Trust that after he was investigated by the Egyptian security agencies: “I don’t have anything to hide and I am not afraid of them (DSS). I swear to God, I am not afraid of them. I just want the world to know what is happening.”
Some relatives of the abducted train accused the Nigerian government of being too hasty in the arrest of Mamu saying the arrest could jeopardise the release of their loved ones.
Two of the relatives who spoke in Kaduna on the condition of anonymity said the government should have ensured the release of all abducted passengers before any attempt to arrest Mamu.
“The Nigerian government should have allowed him to continue in his capacity as a negotiator to ensure the release of the remaining 23 passengers who are still in captivity. Why arrest him now when many people are in captivity and we all know that Mamu has played a vital role in the release?” he asked.
Another passenger who was released through the intervention of Mamu said: “All he did was to negotiate our release, but he was not responsible for the delivery of ransom to our captors, my brother did that.”
KanyiDaily recalls that Mamu recently announced his withdrawal as the lead negotiator in securing the release of the hostages of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack after he alleged a threat to his life by the Nigerian government.