A Nigerian man arrested on terror charges after bombings in his homeland said Thursday that a man identified as the mastermind of the attack is also living in South Africa.
Henry Okah was arrested in Johannesburg on Oct. 2 and is being held on terror charges in connection with the bombings that killed at least 12 people in Nigeria’s capital during a celebration to mark 50 years of independence.
Okah, who denies the terror charges, spoke of the suspect in an affidavit submitted in court during a bail hearing Thursday.
Police published the names and photos of two suspected masterminds of the bombings in Nigerian newspaper Osun Defender. Okah said police misidentified one of the suspects as Chima Orlu. He said he knew the man as Justin Malcolm Umejesi and that he provided accommodation to Umejesi in Johannesburg after they became friends.
He said he believes Umejesi took advantage of his hospitality to spy on him for Nigeria.
“I have an interesting history with this person,” Okah said in an affidavit. Okah said that after he caught Umejesi taking photographs of people at his house, he determined Umejesi was reporting to the Nigerian consulate in South Africa. Okah said he ended their friendship in April 2007, and that Umejesi did not deny spying when confronted.
Azuka Okah, the wife of Henry Okah, told The Associated Press that she recognized the picture of one of the alleged masterminds in the Nigerian newspaper and originally pointed it out to her husband.
Nigeria’s foreign ministry could not be reached for comment. South African police did not respond to queries about whether they were searching for Umejesi.
Nigerian police say they have no information about Orlu using another name or living in South Africa.