Water-tight security is now being mounted in all the six states of the South-West zone of the country amidst tension following Thursday’s arrest in Lagos of a Chadian and another suspect, believed to be members of the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram. The suspects were arrested with bombs, arms and ammunition following a tip-off in a joint operation of the military and the State Security Service (SSS).
An impeccable Source told the Saturday Tribune in Abuja on Friday that the security measure became necessary following intelligence reports that the sect planned to launch attacks on some major towns in the zone.
The SSS had, last month, arrested a middle-aged man who was charged with the responsibility of recruiting and training would-be members of the Boko Haram sect in the South-West, with emphasis on Lagos and its environs.
The suspect, who was said to have connections with Iranian terrorist groups and was also to establish cells for the group in the zone, had succeeded in recruiting some followers before he was apprehended, along with four others, who were later paraded before newsmen.
Thursday’s operations at the Ijora Badiya, Lagos Mainland in Lagos, accordingly to the source, was part of efforts being made by the SSS in conjunction with other security agencies to checkmate the activities of the sect from spreading to the South-West because of its political, social and economic implications on the country in general.
“We are on top of the situation; there is no cause for any fear. We have been on the trail of the sect since last year. We learnt that they wanted to establish cells in Lagos for coordinated attacks on public places and some very important individuals in the society. We monitored them and we got one suspect arrested and he later confessed. Since then, we have been on our toes,” a very senior security operative told Saturday Tribune on Friday.
The source further hinted that all manners of security measures, which he declined to mention, were being put in place by all the security agencies in order to make the South-West zone a no-go area for members of the sect and their foreign collaborators.
Meanwhile, the suspected Chadian and one member of the sect nabbed in the Ijora Badiya, Lagos raid are currently undergoing intensive interrogation.
As at press time, neither the SSS nor the police was willing to make any official statement yet on the development because of the sensitivity of the matter.
In the Thursday raid in Lagos, the SSS and military operatives recovered bomb, AK-47 rifles, arms and ammunition in the Chadian’s apartment, which he reportedly hired a month ago.
Security sources told Saturday Tribune on Friday that searchlights were being beamed on key communities particularly Sabo settlements in towns in the zone to “avoid infiltration by undesirable elements.”
A reliable State Security Service (SSS) source in one of the South West states told the Saturday Tribune that the service had always put enough measures in place to counter any plot against public peace and security.
“What happened in Lagos on Thursday was an eye opener to all of us, including members of the public, to be alert. Landlords and estate agents should scrutinise, carefully, persons who want to rent apartments from them.
“What needs to be done now is more sensitization among the people so that they will be more security conscious. We are closely in touch with religious leaders and community heads for close monitoring of their environments for early detection of criminals,” he said.
The security source hinted that Security Council meetings in the South West states would dwell more on the new threats, in days to come.
The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Ahmed Jubrin could not be reached yesterday as he was said to be on tour of military formations in parts of Kwara State.
A military source who declined comments, however, hinted that the armed forces were actively collaborating with other security forces to prevent the spread of terrorism to the South West which had so far enjoyed some measure of peace.
Oyo State police commissioner, Mr. Mohammed Indabawa told the Saturday Tribune that he would not disclose the measures being put in place to counter any ugly move by terrorists.
He, however, counselled that people should be vigilant and report any suspicious movement in their neighbourhood to law.