Boko haram Babuji Ya'ari arrest
An unverified picture of the arrested businessman Babuji Ya'ari. The picture was tweeted by Reno Omokri, special assistant to President Jonathan Goodluck. Twitter/Reno Omokri

The Nigerian military have arrested a suspected Boko Haram cell leader in connection with the mass abduction of schoolgirls in Chibok last April, according to local officials.

Local businessman Babuji Ya'arim was arrested during a military raid on a Boko Haram intelligence unit.

A military statement said Babuji Ya'arim was actively involved in the mass kidnapping of the 220 girls, as well as the killing of an emir in Gwoza in May.

Nigerian newspaper the Cable quoted director of defence information Major-General Chris Olukolade: "Babuji has been coordinating several deadly attacks in Maiduguri since 2011, including the daring attacks on Customs and military locations, as well as the planting of IEDs (improvised explosive device) in several locations in the town.

"The arrest of the businessman, who is known to deal in tricycles, has also yielded some vital information and facilitated the arrest of other members of the terrorists' intelligence cell who are women," he said.

Among the women arrested was Hafsat Bako who "coordinated the payment of other operatives on the payroll of the group. In her confession, she disclosed that a minimum of N10,000 (£35.79) is paid to each operative, depending on the enormity of his task," Olukolade said.

"Another female suspect named Haj Kaka who doubles as an armourer and a spy for the terrorists group has also been arrested. Until their arrest, all the suspects actively operated a terrorists' intelligence cell in collaboration with others still at large."

Boko Haram, which opposes the westernisation of Nigeria and tries to impose sharia law, has waged a campaign of terror and violence, characterised by attacks in public spaces, such as schools and hospitals, mainly in Northern Nigeria, and the brazen kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls in April.

The latest kidnap victims are 91 civilians, including toddlers, abducted in a village in Northern Nigeria last June.

Three states in Northern Nigeria - Borno, Yobe and Adamawa - have been under a state of emergency since May last year because of the terror group's activities.