The head of the cell, 50-year-old Nigerian Abdullahi Mustapha Berende, apparently has a masters degree from the University of Ilorin, but had also studied Shi'a Islam at the Imam Khomeini University in Iran for 6 months in 2006. According to the spokesperson for the Nigerian State Security Service (SSS) Marilyn Ogar, Berende was also trained in weapons use by the Iranians. Berende, who claims he now 'regrets his actions', recruited three others: Sulaiman Olayinka Saka, Saheed Aderemi Adewumi, both in custody, and Bunyamin Yusuf who is nowhere to be found.
Per The Times of Nigeria:
Ogar said that Berende, the local leader of the Shiite Sect in Ilorin, had been on the SSS radar for six months before he was eventually arrested through sustained covert operations by SSS operators on 17 December, 2012.Ogar said:
She further disclosed that Berende was also tasked by his Iranian handlers to provide names of prominent Nigerians who if attacked could unsettle the West.
Consequently, the SSS spokesperson said the suspect gave the names of former President Ibrahim Babangida and former Sultan of Sokoto, Ibrahim Dasuki respectively as targets of attack.
Berende also confessed to have made several suspicious trips to and from Iran where he interacted with some Iranian elements, known to operate a high-profile international terrorist network.
Ogar noted that 'on his return to Nigeria, Berende was invited by his handlers to Dubai for further briefing in April, 2012.
He confessed that his Iranian sponsors requested that he identifies and gathers intelligence on public places and prominent hotels frequented by Americans and Israelis to facilitate attacks.
He was also to provide specific details of targets including organizations like USAID, Max, Zim International Shipping Company, AA Consulting, Peace Corps and the Jewish Cultural centre [Chabad] in Lagos.
“That his Iranian handlers directed him to secure their communication by using codes to represent the targets e.g Uncle [Israel], Aunt [America] among others; That Lagos was preferred because his handlers believed that the Israelis have an intelligence facility there that is used in spying on Iran; That his lieutenants successfully conducted surveillance and gathered relevant data on the mentioned targets preparatory to possible attacks; That he personally took photographs of the Israeli cultural centre in Ikoyi, Lagos, which he sent to his handlers; That he was asked to establish a small business in Lagos that will serve as a cover for his activities; That he received US$ 4,000 upon completion of his training; 3,500 Euros in April, 2012, at the meeting in Dubai; and US$ 20,000 out of which he was to use US$ 10,000 to relocate to Lagos, furnish his house and rent a shop for his business, US$ 5,000 to cover Visa processing expenses while the remaining US$ 5,000 was for his up-keep.'
The Iranian government has its evil little hands all over the place. And they call the U.S. "The Great Satan."