By Kingsley Omonobi, Austin Ogwuda & Daniel Eteghe
ABUJA – Following threats by Islamic sect, Boko Haram to attack Lagos, Delta, Anambra and other cities in the southern part of the country, a nation wide security alert was put in place yesterday especially in Lagos, Asaba and Jos.
The sect, according to new intelligence reports available to the Armed Forces, had also perfected plans to use Registration number plates of Federal Government, states or security services to gain access to federal and military establishments for selected suicide attacks. This prompted the Defence headquarters to issue a signal to all military formations in the country not to take the threat lightly.
At the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the Murtala Muhammed airport in Lagos, security was beefed up as policemen, FAAN security officials and Anti-Bomb squad were busy screening cars heading to the airport with metal detectors. This resulted in traffic build up around the airport.
It will be recalled that the state Police command had ordered the deployment of more personnel from both the anti-bomb and anti-terrorism units to shore up existing security in and around these embassies.
Sources said the recent measure was to forestall a repeat of the August attack on the UN building in Abuja, by a suicide bomber suspected to be member of the Boko Haram sect.
In Asaba, Delta State capital, security was beefed up in strategic government buildings as well as buildings housing sensitive materials such the Independent National Electoral Commission.
State Security Council meets in Warri
Also, the State Security Council met in Warri on Wednesday and harped on the need to ensure full proof protection for residents in the state without taking any chance. At the State police headquarters on Okpanam Road Asaba, no car was allowed in without going through thorough screening.
State Police command’s spokesman, Mr. Charles Muka told our reporter that the security arrangement was necessary saying that “it is not our intention to dismiss the seeming rumours of Boko Harma threat with a wave of hand. We have spread our intelligence monitoring networks. We have also strengthened and intensified patrols. We urge Deltans and those traversing our roads to go about their business without fear”
Petirin now fully responsible for security in Plateau State
In Jos, following the mandate from President Goodluck Jonathan to the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Petirin to take over the security in Plateau State, the CDS has beefed up the Task Force in the state with 1,200 men from the military, and 2000 Police Mobile Force personnel drawn from various Squadrons across the country while the NSCDC provided 100 men in addition to deployment of more SSS operatives.
Director of Defence Information, Col Mohammed Yerima, said yesterday at a briefing by the Joint Security Agencies Information Managers Committee headed by Brig-General Rafeal Isa of Army headquarters, that “Consequent upon the mandate from President Goodluck Jonathan to the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Petirin is now fully responsible for the security situation in Plateau State .
All local vigilante groups operating in some parts of the state with the approval of the local authorities have already subordinated themselves to the authority of the Commander on ground”.
According to him, “The CDS also appealed to all parties to the conflict to eschew violence and embrace dialogue and compromise which would usher in lasting resolution and sustainable peace in the state. He further appealed to citizens to stop forthwith, any act of vengeance or taking of laws into their hands but report suspicious actions or movements capable of disrupting peace to the nearest security authority”.
Explaining the operational modus of the Task Force in Jos, Brigadier General Isa said, “The mandate under the CDS is a new mandate. There will be a review of the rules of engagement and this will be determined by the mission, and if the lives of the Task Force personnel are threatened, they have to protect themselves. And if someone’s life is threatened and he defends himself, it does not mean it has changed the rules of engagement”, he said.
With the appointment of Maj-General Oluwaseun Oshinowo as Commander of the Special Task Force, he said, “The CDS has beefed up the force with 1,200 men strength from the military, the Nigeria Police has supported with an additional 2000 Police Mobile Force personnel drawn from various Squadrons across the country while the NSCDC has provided 100 men in addition to deployment of more SSS operatives.