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NAVY COURT-MARTIALS AL-MUSTAPHA'S ALLEGED ACCOMPLICE

By NBF News
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A naval officer declared wanted by the Nigerian Navy in 2004 for breaching national security has been arrested, Daily Sun can now exclusively report. Identified as Commander Yakubu Kudambo, the officer was declared wanted in 2004 by the naval authority for 'security breach' and since then he was alleged to have bolted from the custody of the State Security Service (SSS).

However, recently the officer was alleged to have returned to the country and was arrested by the intelligence unit of the Nigerian Navy. At the moment, Daily Sun learnt that Commander Kudambo was being detained at the Nigerian Navy base in Apapa where he is also facing a naval court martial.

The media had been kept away from the court-martial but key naval sources told Daily Sun that the officer was being charged with being absent without leave (AWOL), a different charge from the original charge brought against him and his co-accused.

The Federal Government had, in 2004, accused the officer of plotting to topple the government of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo alongside the former Chief Security Officer to late General Sanni Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha.

Indeed, the former Abacha strongman was accused of disbursing money 'for the purpose of purchasing a stinger surface-to-air missile to be used in shooting down the president's helicopter with the president on board,' the document added.

Al-Mustapha, one of the most powerful figures in the regime of Abacha, was already in jail facing charges of attempted murder of a newspaper publisher in 1995 when the offence was allegedly committed.

The officers charged in absentia were one Colonel Mohammed Ibn Umar Adeka, Commander Yakubu Kudambo and Lieutenant Tijani Abdallah, while the civilian was named Onwuchekwa Okorie.

The document said al-Mustapha funded several trips by Abdallah between November 2002 and March 2004 to Ivory Coast and Togo to acquire a missile for the attack, while Commander Kudambo drafted the framework of a coup speech and the outlook of the intended government.'

Only recently Al-Mustapha was discharged and acquitted from the charge of treasonable felony brought against him, fueling suspicion as to why the naval officer had to return.

But shortly after his return, the officer was arrested and detained by the navy and at the moment he is facing a court-martial.

AWOL, a military terminology, which also means desertion or abandonment of duty post without permission, is done with the intention of not returning to the service.