Since the Simon Kolawole led online news ferret The Cable broke the news of how Ibrahim, 41-year-old son of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria Mohammed Uwais, sneaked out of Nigeria with his wives and children to be the latest recruits of the terrorist group, ISIS – Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Uwais household hasn’t been the same.
Newshounds have been chasing the retired Justice for comments, but in his embarrassment, the man whose legal views once covered the national dailies now has nothing to say and neither does the Department of State Services or the Defence Headquarters.
Understandably, the ageing Uwais would be distraught and ashamed of his son’s action if indeed the report is true. This may mar the older Uwais’ legacy as a jurist and dad. Worse still is the possibility that his son did not just get recruited by ISIS but got Uwais’ grandchildren and daughters-in-law recruited too.
Tongues are wagging and people are already asking: This may well be a rebellion against the family name and all that the eminent jurist stood for. But what in the world would lead a scion of Justice Uwais – who by any standard comes from a rich home and should himself be rich – would prefer to become a terrorist and common criminal as the world would now label him?
“I fear for the old man (Justice Uwais)” says a family source in Asokoro, Abuja “Ibrahim or ISIS may likely start fleecing his dad for serious money; they may disguise it as ransome or bail, whatever.”
This is not the first time, the son of a rich and influential Muslim Nigerian would engage or be linked with global terrorism. You would recall that Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, the fresh-faced engineering graduate of the University College, London, who attempted to bomb an American airliner in the US on December 25, 2009 having been radicalised by Al-Qaeda.
Umar Farouk is the youngest of 16 children of Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, a wealthy Nigerian banker and businessman. He is a son of his second wife, Aisha. His father was described by The Times in 2009 as “one of the richest men in Africa.” Mutallab Snr is a former Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and former Minister for Economic Development.
Ibrahim Uwais is the grandson of Chief Alkali, the Waziri of Zaria Emirate. Ibrahim gave his parents and everyone around him the impression that he hates Boko Haram but he went to Syria to join ISIS. And now Boko Haram has officially joined ISIS by publicly announcing its allegiance to the group. Ibrahim’s father, Mohammed Lawal Uwais, served as the Chief Justice of Nigeria from 1995 to 2006. Ibrahim, 41, is a committed Muslim, has two wives and four children. His elder wife is an educator while the younger wife worked for the Debt Management Office (DMO) both in Abuja. Ibrahim’s wives both chose to become jihadists and ISIS recruits rather than go back to their parents.
Under pressure from security operatives that were contacted by the older Uwais, the Turkish embassy in Nigeria confirmed it issued it issued visas to Ibrahim and members of his family. CCTV recordings also corroborated the Uwais saga. Ibrahim was a university dropout. It is believed that he got radicalised in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He was popular with Queen’s College, Lagos girls in his heady college days. (Source: The Cable)
If truly Ibrahim Uwais’ family members are now ISIS recruits in training, then Nigerians have not heard the last of them, nor Justice Uwais himself. Uwais Jnr., may well become the next ‘underwear bomber’ like Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, who at the age of 23 (now 28), confessed to and was convicted of attempting to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253, flying from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan, on Christmas Day, 2009.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed to have organised the attack with Abdul Mutallab; they said they supplied him with the bomb and trained him. Mutallab was convicted in a US federal court of eight criminal counts, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder of 289 people. This is what Mutallab’s search for a jihadist’s martyrdom fetched him… On February 16, 2012, he was sentenced to four life terms plus 50 years without parole.