By Kingsley Omonobi, Daniel Idonor and Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA— Security agencies have revealed fresh plans by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram to attack selected high profile targets in the federal capital ahead of this weekend’s independence anniversary.
The SSS claimed that the attacks are coming on the heels of a presidency directive to all security agencies to submit to it documents on their handling of the Boko Haram crisis since 2007. The presidency’s directive was the outcome of outrage that trailed the comments of the leader of the group released by the Police to a sister agency.
Meanwhile, the United Nations in New York has fired its security chiefs in Abuja following the submission to it of the report on the bombing of the UN building in Abuja last August. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigations, FBI which conducted the investigation according to Vanguard sources has also taken over the security of the UN building in Abuja.
The Boko Haram group according to findings by security agencies has conscripted agents to attack selected government institutions and buildings in Abuja between Monday 26th September and October 1st 2011, when Nigeria would be celebrating its 51st independent anniversary.
Towards this end, Vanguard gathered that security agencies have unmasked plots by the group to use two vehicle types- a Nissan Sunny salon car with registration Abuja CL 735 ABJ and an Audi new model with registration KD 475 JJ, to possibly carry out their next suicide attacks on very important government targets in the federal capital territory.
Among these targets, Vanguard was informed, are the NNPC Towers in Abuja, Central Bank headquarters, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Army barracks and Mammy markets in Abuja, Federal Secretariat Complex, the National Assembly, Supreme Court, Office of the Secretary to Government of the federation and even the Nigeria Police headquarters, because according to the source, their target at the Police headquarters is yet to be dealt with, even after the earlier attack this year.
Consequently, Vanguard gathered that a new security alert has gone out to all military, Police and other security agencies to be alive to their responsibilities and not switch off for any moment as the sect appears determined to carry out their threat.
Asked if states earmarked for attack by the group particularly those in the Niger Delta, should down play the threat by the sect, now that they have narrowed their plots to attacking government assets in Abuja, the security source said: “It will be a big mistake as the group was very good at elements of surprise. When you begin to think all is well, that their minds were focused on a different target, is when they strike at you”.
Meanwhile, Vanguard has gathered that the discovery at the weekend by the Presidency, that many top security chiefs at the apex of the security agencies were working at cross purposes with the federal government, has resulted in the Presidency requesting for documents and information regarding the handling of the Boko Haram atrocities and investigations since 2007.
It was gathered weekend’s revelations and the disclosure by the Nigeria Police Force, that a kingpin of the sect, Mr. Ali Tishau was released to a sister agency for investigation and he was released, despite the fact that there was a ‘proviso’ to return him to the Police, opened the presidency’s eyes to insincerity on the part of some government agencies at combating the Boko Haram menace.
UN fires security officials in Abuja
Mr Ban Ki-moon, approved the sack of the security chiefs, a French national, and his deputy, a Kenyan, few days ago following the release of the final report of the FBI probe into the terrorist attack which indicted the two officials.
According to a reliable source in New York, the sack notice was served on the security helmsmen after a decision to fire them was reached last week by the Central Management, CMT, meeting held in Abuja to discuss the FBI report; and was immediately communicated to New York, which was approved.
Vanguard learnt that despite “adequate intelligence on a possible suicide attack”, at the disposal of the UN security arrowheads in Nigeria, they failed to adopt “forceful vehicle
attacks preventive measures”, but instead relied on body and bags searches alone.
It was further learnt that the attacker, which the FBI report said, choose to use the exit gate because the entry gate was very busy at the time of the attack, would have been prevented if there were concrete bumps that could drastically reduce the speed of an attacking vehicle at both gates.
Vanguard gathered that the two embattled officials had gone on an official leave to their respective countries when the decision on the sack was reached, and they are not expected to return to Nigeria to resume work anymore.
In the meantime, the FBI has taken over the security of the UN head office in Nigeria, with the support of the Nigeria Army; even as it was learnt that the FBI has begun a comprehensive overhaul of the security apparatus around UN formations across the country.
Meanwhile, construction giant Julius Berger has been fully mobilised to site to reinforce the concrete structure and carry out a comprehensive rehabilitation of the UN building.
The decision by the UN to rehabilitate the building instead of an earlier envisaged demolition of the badly wounded structure and fresh construction work, followed the result of the test work carried out on the building to examine the extent of damage, which gave it a clean bill of health.
Why Boko Haram thrives in Borno State —Auta
Meanwhile, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, yesterday, urged that former Governors should be held responsible for allowing the promotion of the Boko Haram ideology
Speaking at a dinner reception organized in his honour by the Bura/Babur Community of Bornu State, weekend, Justice Auta, stressed that unless the federal government tackles the issues of unemployment and illiteracy in the state, it may be impossible to stem the menace of the Boko Haram sect in North Eastern part of the country.
He decried that successive administrations in the state failed to place premium on education, noting that a recent study ranked Borno state high among states with a staggering unemployment ratio.
“It is due to the fact that successive governments neglected the importance of education, that we have a lot of jobless youths who can readily be used, and most of them did not go to school. It is therefore obvious that education and employment is the answer, Justice Auta insisted.
Thanking the community for the honour done him, the CJ vowed to always uphold the tenets of justice and equity, in the discharge of his duties, saying he is planning to give postmortem awards to some late jurists and eminent lawyers who had distinguished themselves while alive.
Reacting on behalf of all the judges present that attended the event, Justice Okechukwu Okeke, pledged that they would cooperate with the CJ towards ensuring that Nigerians have unfettered access to justice.
Jurists, lawyers, legislators, senior military officers and officials of the Bornu State government, attended the event.