ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — A Nigerian court on Wednesday ordered the extradition of one of its citizens wanted in the U.S. for terrorism.
This month, the U.S. Embassy requested Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi’s extradition on a federal indictment charging he provided support to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
Court documents said Babafemi, 33, admitted to FBI agents he traveled to Yemen with AQAP members and received $8,600 to return to Nigeria and recruit English speakers to radicalize others. Federal High Court Judge Ahmed Mohammed ordered Babafemi to go to the U.S. to face the indictment against him.
Babafemi, also known as Abdullah Ayatollah Mustapha, didn’t contest the order.
“Since there is no form of any objection by the respondent, Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi aka Abdullah Ayatollah Mustapha, to the application for his extradition, this court is satisfied that the application by the Attorney General for the extradition of the respondent to the United States of America is proper and in accordance with the extradition Act 2004,” the judge said.
Babafemi remained in the custody of Nigeria State Security Service. The judge ordered that Babafemi be surrendered to U.S. officials within 15 days.
U.S. court documents said that Babafemi traveled twice from Nigeria to Yemen to meet and train with leaders of al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen between January 2010 and August 2011. He assisted in AQAP’s English-language media operations, which include the publication of the magazine “Inspire.”
At the direction of senior AQAP commander Anwar Al-Awlaki, who was killed Sept. 30, 2011 in a drone strike in the mountains of Yemen, Babafemi was provided with the $8,600 to recruit English speakers from Nigeria to join the group, the papers said. While in Yemen, Babafemi also received weapons training from AQAP.
On February 21, 2013, a grand jury in the Eastern District of New York returned a sealed indictment. The charges included conspiracy to provide material support to AQAP, and unlawful use of machine guns.
The Nigerian government started extradition proceedings in July.
The al-Qaida branch claims many terrorist attacks, including the 2009 attempted bombing of a Northwest Airline flight from Amsterdam to Detroit by a Nigerian with explosives hidden in his underwear.