An operative of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) recently arrested in Kano, Northwest Nigeria, cultivated a relationship with a local religious police official (Hisbah) to facilitate the purchase of plots of land and renting of an apartment.
The individual with multiple pseudonyms such as Mallam Abba and Adamu Makeri met the Hisbah official at an Arabic lesson he used to attend at the Almuntada mosque, a Salafi mosque in Kano’s Dorayi neighbourhood, according to security brief and sources familiar with the situation.
The relationship enabled the operative to rent an apartment in the Samegu area of Kumbotso Local Government Area (LGA) of the state for more than four years before his arrest in early June. The location is also close to where the Department of State Service (DSS), the country’s Domestic Intelligence Agency, recently intercepted a car with weapons.
The brief revealed that the terrorist persuaded the Hisbah official to use his influence to help with the rent after the terrorist disclosed that he was sleeping in a store. He would later inform the official that he was bringing his family from the Niger Republic to Kano and that he needed his help getting another rent.
“When I met him, he told me he was a businessman who exports shoes and textiles to the Niger Republic. I have no further information about his nefarious activities,” the Hisbah official stated in the report.
The official’s influence enabled the terrorist to get the rent without following the state procedures for acquiring or giving out a house for rent.
Another member he identified as a Niger Republic brother later joined the group. He also used his connections with Hisbah officials to purchase five different plots of land in other places in the state.
Traditional ward chiefs and district heads in Kano have complained that homeowners and their agents bypass them by renting or selling their properties to unknown people, putting many areas at risk of criminal infiltration.
“Despite many efforts to change the system or make it work better, the homeowners and their agents do their things independently, and then you hear about something wrong happening,” a ward chief who preferred anonymity told HumAngle.
The Kano state government ruled in 2021 that houses and lands sale should be with district heads’ approvals, but “people still violate the order and do their things,” the ward chief said.
Tensions have recently risen in Kano state following the discovery of three separate terrorism-related cases. In addition, two different weapons were intercepted in the Kumbotso wards of Chiranchi and Bubbugaje.
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