ABUJA — The Nigerian Army, yesterday, placed all its formations across the country on red alert following terrorists’ threat to attack and bomb national assets including mosques during Sallah celebrations to mark the end of Ramadan in countries with sizeable Muslim adherents.
Similarly, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has ordered water-tight security across the country to ensure a hitch-free Sallah celebration.
This came on a day facts emerged that recent attacks in parts of Borno State by the Islamic fundamentalist group, Boko Haram, have been linked to the safe haven the Republic of Cameroon provides its members.
Speaking in Abuja, yesterday, against the backdrop of threat by terrorists, Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Ibrahim Attahiru said: “To this end, the Nigerian Army will remain eternally vigilant with a view to reducing vulnerability through proactive preventive measures”.
Attahiru emphasized that the measures were also aimed at preventing the spread of terrorism to other parts of the country.
“These proactive measures have yielded results with the recent arrests in Lagos, and Ogun states of 42 suspected terrorists. I, therefore, wish to reassure Nigerians that the Army will continue to constantly review its strategies towards greater sophistication in tackling security challenges facing the country”, he said.
IG orders tight security
As part of efforts to ensure a hitch-free Sallah celebration across the country, the Inspector-General of Police has directed all Zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Command Commissioners of Police to ensure increased security surveillance, patrols and tactical Police presence on major highways, places of worship, recreation parks and other sensitive, strategic and vulnerable places within their areas of responsibility.
According to a statement signed by Force Spokesman, CSP Frank Mba, “Command CPs are further directed to adequately deploy their personnel to guarantee free-flow of traffic and safe passage for all travellers and other road users.
“Highway patrol teams, working in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies, are equally directed to take adequate measures in preventing road accidents and rendering assistance to travellers particularly those in distress”.
The statement added that “Muslim faithful across the country are, therefore, enjoined to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Fitri with the reassurance that the Police are working to guarantee an all-round security during the period of festivities and even thereafter.”
The security alert came against the global security concern over threats by Al-Qaeda in the Middle East and North Africa which has led to Western countries closing their foreign missions during the week.
The United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany have been on alert following intercepted intelligence reports of possible security breaches in the Middle East and North Africa. Nigeria’s security and intelligence community seem to be acting in concert with global security concerns this season.
7 policemen die, 3 missing in Boko Haram attacks
The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the Borno State Government have said that seven policemen were killed while three other policemen were missing when Boko Haram gunmen launched attacks in the Bama Mobile Police Base station last Sunday.
Speaking yesterday at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH), where the injured five policemen were receiving treatment, the Borno State Police Commissioner, Lawal Tanko and the state Deputy Governor, Zanna Umar Mustapha, said contrary to the Joint Task Force (JTF) reports that a policeman and two soldiers were killed in the attacks, seven policemen were actually killed. They noted that three others were still missing before five of the wounded policemen and three soldiers were admitted at the UMTH for treatment.
Tanko said: “These are the five policemen being admitted into this hospital for the injuries they sustained in the Bama Boko Haram attacks on our station last Sunday. We confirmed that seven were killed while repelling the gunmen from torching Bama Mobile Police Base on Bama-Gwoza Road at about 6am.”
He said three other officers are still missing, as the police authority and family members of affected policemen were yet to locate their whereabouts.
While sympathizing with the wounded and injured policemen and soldiers, Mustapha donated N2.65 million to offset the medical bills of the injured policemen and soldiers.
Cameroon, safe haven for insurgents
In a related development, recent attacks in parts of Borno State by the Islamic fundamentalist group, Boko Haram, have been linked to the safe haven which the Republic of Cameroon provides for them.
This was revealed yesterday by authoritative sources within the Presidency who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity.
Said a source: “You know Bama and some other places in Borno where these terrorists have carried out raids in recent times are located close to our border with the Republic of Cameroon.
“What they normally do is to infiltrate these border towns, carry out attacks and then run back to Cameroon. Once they re-enter Cameroon, they are beyond the reach of our military and security forces.”
10 die in auto accident
Meanwhile, 10 persons, yesterday, lost their lives in an auto accident in Zamfara State.
The tragedy occurred when two commercial vehicles, a Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen Golf car had a head-on collision near Furfuri village, on the outskirts of Gusau, the state capital.
According to an eye witness, drivers of the two vehicles, conveying seven people each were on top speed trying to overtake other vehicles, but lost control and collided. Four passengers died instantly while six others died later while receiving medical attention.
The remaining passengers who survived the accident are presenly receiving medical treatment at the Federal Medical Centre Gusau.
Confirming the accident, Spokesman of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Garba Lawal, explained that the accident which he described as one of the worst this year, could have been averted had the drivers been more carefull. He said: “The drivers were on top speed, and we have been telling them every day that speed kills, but they don’t listen.”