Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Four Remanded Over Dikko's Abduction

FOUR MEN, three Israeli nationals and a Nigerian diplomat, have been remanded in custody until July 19 when they appeared before a Lambeth magistrates court in London, charged with offences relating to the abduction of Alhaji Umaru Dikko.

Detectives at New Scotland Yard described the four as Mohammed Yusufu, 40, diplomat, from Lagos; Alexander Barak, 27, businessman, of Netanyia, Israel; Lev-Arie Shapiro, 43, doctor, of Petach Tikva, Israel; and Felix Messoud Abutbul, 31, shopkeeper, of Netyani, Israel.

All are charged with stealing and unlawfully taking away against his will Alhaji Umaru Dikko from Porchester Terrace, London W2, on July 4; and with unlawfully administering to Mr Dikko four stupefying drugs with intent to enable themselves and other to commit an indictable offence of kidnapping.

Although Mohammed Yusufu is described as a diplomat, he is not on the diplomatic list of the Nigerian High Commission in London, and therefore does not enjoy diplomatic status in London.

In Lagos the Nigerian Government called on Britain to extradite Alhaji Dikko to Nigeria and vigorously protested at ill-treatment of Nigerians held for questioning in London.

The demand was delivered to Mr Ham Whyte, the British High Commis sioner, who was summoned to see Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim, the acting Foreign Minister.

The Nigerian Minister also called for extradition of two British pilots who flew a private jet aircraft out of the country earlier in the year, and listed a series of alleged British misdemeanours, including what he described as "a campaign of hate" against Nigeria.

He protested at the treatment in Britain of the crew of the Nigerian Airways freighter at Stansted Airport who were detained for questioning, and of two other Nigerian nationals held by the police. According to the Nigerian Foreign Ministry they were denied consular access.

The statement alleged that the crew were subjected to inhuman treatment, "stripped naked, had samples of their hair cut off, photographed and kept in the nude for over 12 hours in unkind weather." It said that in contrast the crew of the British Caledonian aircraft held in Lagos in retaliation were kept in first class government guest houses.

Israel, like Nigeria has denied any official involvement in the kidnap affair and an Israeli government spokesman denied that either of the Israelis charged was connected with the Mossad, Israel's overseas secret service.

But one experienced observer has been quoted as saying: "They would deny it whether or not it was true."

Dr Shapiro is said to have arrived in London the day before the abduction having told colleagues and friends that he was taking a patient to London for medical treatment and others that he was going to London to do a "private anaesthetic job."

A prominent Israeli lawyer, Uri Slonim, arrived in London on Tuesday to represent Dr Lev Shapiro, the man found in the crate with Dr Dikko and described as a senior physician and anaesthetist at a leading hospital. Relations between Israel and Nigeria were broken in 1973 in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War

See also kidnapped victim umaru dikko

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