Police, NSCDC on red alert as terrorists infiltrate South
The Nigerian police have mobilised to foil plans by terrorists to attack the southern part of the country sequel to the infiltration of the region by suspected Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province terrorists.
As part of the strategies to prevent terrorists’ attacks, the police chiefs in Lagos met on Monday just as the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps warned Nigerians against employing fleeing terrorists.
Also, it was gathered that police and the Department of State Services had deployed detectives to fish out fleeing terrorists in the South.
This followed the arrest of a suspected Boko Haram commander working as a security guard at a residential building in the Ijaiye area of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on Saturday.
The arrest of the Boko Haram commander has triggered a flurry of emergency security meetings by law enforcement agencies in Lagos and Ogun states, and apprehension among residents in the southern part of the country.
The development is coming on the heels of the July 5 attack on the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre, Abuja, where 69 Boko Haram commanders were freed by the Islamic State West Africa Province.
Also, suspected terrorists attacked the Presidential Guards Brigade troops at Bwari-Kubwa road, Abuja, in which a captain, lieutenant and six soldiers were killed and others wounded.
A leaked memo from the NSCDC indicating that Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists were amassing dangerous weapons for massive attacks on Katsina, Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory, Kaduna, and Zamfara States, created fear in Abuja and anxiety across the country.
It was learnt that suspected terrorist arrived in Abeokuta from Katsina, took up a security job at Ijaye, while gathering intelligence for an attack.
Security sources said he moved to Abeokuta to set up a cell for kidnapping and terror attacks.
But acting on intelligence, the DSS operatives apprehended him.
A source said, ‘’It was not an easy ride. Intelligence and the grace of God were sufficient for the operatives. There are still many of them (terrorists) around, but we are on top of our game.”
In preparation for the security challenge, the Lagos Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi, on Monday, held a security meeting with all area, squadron and Tactical Commanders in the state.
The Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Command, Benjamin Hundeyin, made this known via a tweet on Monday.
Sharing photos from the meeting, Hundeyin noted that the security and safety of the residents remained a priority for the police. He also urged Lagosians to remain vigilant and report suspicious activities to security agencies.
Hundeyin tweeted, “ONGOING: CP Abiodun Alabi, fdc meeting with all area, squadron and tactical Commanders in Lagos State. The security and safety of all residents of Lagos State remain a top priority.
“We call on Lagosians to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to security agencies.”
Hundeyin, during a Twitter Space webinar, also told our correspondent that the command was working with other agencies to prevent terrorists’ attacks in the state.
Responding to a question on the threat, Hundeyin said, “For now the threat level is not alarming. We are not restricting anyone’s movement. And we want people not to relax.
“They should be very vigilant, very watchful because security is everyone’s business. So the moment they sight or spot something out of the ordinary, please inform the nearest security agency so that it can be looked into.”
Twenty-four hours after the arrest of the Boko Haram suspect, the police and DSS authorities in Ogun State planned to hold a crucial security meeting on the development.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, admonished home owners to profile potential security guards or maids before engaging them.
According to him, failure to do this may result in the employment of a dangerous criminal or terrorist.
Adejobi stated, ‘’Every landlord or homeowner should profile any potential housemaid or guard. They need to contact the police or security agency to confirm the status or antecedent of the person. If they don’t check, they may end up employing dangerous elements that may harm them. So we urge landlords to profile their intending workers.’’
Speaking in the same tone, the NSCDC spokesman, Shola Odumosu said Nigerians should be careful about engaging unknown or strange individuals as security guards.
He advised anyone who needs a private security guard to patronize private security companies which are regulated by the corps.
He said, ‘’If you need a guard, approach any registered security company and that is why we have told those who are licensed to display their certificate conspicuously in their offices.
“Once you don’t see that, you know that such a company is not registered. If the one arrested in Ogun was employed by a registered company it would be easy to find out how he got into the company but for somebody who you pick from the street, he can’t be traced.’’
Odumosu added, “People should know that with the level of insecurity in the country, you cannot just bring a stranger into your house as a mai guard. You will be causing more harm to yourself.’’
“The general situation calls for vigilance; it is possible for you to employ anybody who could be an armed robber , or he escaped from Kuje (prison) or he’s an undercover criminal. Whatever situation that warrants you to employ a security guard in your house, due process should be followed,’’ he cautioned.