There is tension in Kogi State over alleged plot by members of Boko Haram to bomb the popular Jamata/Murtala bridge linking the northern and southern parts of the country even as the State Security Service (SSS) said it has arrested 100 suspects in over six states.
The development came less than 24 hours after police foiled another plot by the Islamic fundamentalists to bomb the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), located at Central Business District, Garki, Abuja.
The same group of fundamentalists attacked the Nigeria Police headquarters, Louis Edet House, Abuja on June 16. The sect was said to have sent text messages to some security outfits in Kogi, warning them of their imminent incursion into the state.
A source confided in Daily Sun that Itobe Bridge, which links Eastern part of the country to Kogi State was also a target to be bombed by the sect.
Due to this threat, the source hinted that eagle-eyed operatives have been ordered to mount a 24-hour surveillance in and around the two bridges and to patrol the Rivers Niger and Benue by boats.
The source noted that as a result of a serious crackdown on the sect by security forces in Borno State and the North-East in general, security reports have confirmed that the dreaded Islamic group plans to move to Kogi, Nasarawa and Niger states.
The source added that a particular Muslim sect, called Abayi, in Adavi Local Government Area of the state had been put under surveillance as their operation is similar to that of the Boko Haram.
The source said that some flashpoints in the state are under watch as they have stepped up surveillance in all nooks and crannies, especially during evenings around the state capital, Lokoja.
The source, however, pointed out that Boko Haram, which had occupied 12 states, would not be allowed to enter Kogi, adding that the state is a no go area for the group.
According to the source, all commercial motorcycle operators, popularly called ‘Okada’, operating in the state have been mandated to register their motorcycles and must always wear jackets that will reflect the registration point of the motorcycles.
Boko Haram, meaning ‘western education is sinful’, commenced operation in the country in 2009 when it launched
simultaneous attacks on police formations in Bauchi, Yobe and Kaduna states to free arrested members.
Since then, the group had launched vicious attacks on government properties, churches, relaxation centres, police formations while claiming responsibility for the bomb attack on Bauchi military barracks on May 29, 2011.
Recently, it pledged a ceasefire if 12 states in the North can adopt the strict Sharia legal system as well as the resignation of Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima.
Meanwhile, SSS spokesperson, Marilyn Ogar said the agency has arrested over 100 Boko Haram suspects in six states of North -East and North-West, which are Borno, Bauchi, Kaduna, Kano, Yobe and Adamawa. According to the SSS, the suspects would not be prosecuted because President Goodluck Jonathan has decided to adopt a political solution to resolving the Boko Haram problem.
Ogar, however, explained that since the President has decided to use “carrot and stick” approach on the suspects, the SSS would not go contrary to such strategy, saying that is why the suspects would not be prosecuted. The SSS spokesperson stressed that those arrested are already helping the security agents in investigations and information on activities of the sect.
She said as a result, the SSS on May 23, June 10, 14, 27 and 29 discovered and successfully demobilized eight Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Kafanchan, one in Goni Gora, Dambo International College, all in Kaduna State.
SSS also said it also received information from some patriotic Nigerians and recovered components of yet-to-be assembled explosive which includes a gas cylinder with a pin, detonating cables, a bottle of distilled water, pliers, masking tape and clips in a hotel in Kaduna, adding that the bomb was meant to be detonated in a shopping mall in the city.
Similarly, SSS explained why a combined team of the military mounted roadblocks on the entrance routes of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), saying that it was because of a security report on the likelihood of the Boko Haram planning other attacks in some places in Abuja.
According to the SSS, “it is appropriate to apologize to peace loving citizens especially residents of the FCT and its adjoining communities for the temporary inconveniences they are experiencing. This has become necessary in the interest of our collective safety. “We must all continue to remain conscious of the fact that security is everybody’s business and the effect of such routine security procedures should be considered as part of the little sacrifices we all have to pay for our collective safety,” the Service stated.
Ogar also noted that in view of the security challenges confronting the nation, the SSS would henceforth collaborate with all hotel owners in the country especially in Abuja on records of their customers.
She said any hotel customer found to have lounged in one hotel for up to one month will be queried, stressiong that except customers whose identity is that of a person of proven integrity.
Meanwhile, the Movement for New Nigeria has called for a new constitution to replace the 1999 document, as one of the ways to tackle insecurity and similar challenges facing the country.
Speaking to reporters in Lagos, the President of the group, Chief Fred Agbeyegbe, said this was in view of the fact that the 1999 Constitution had failed Nigeria.
According to him, this was evident in all sectors, turning Nigeria into a failed state.
Specifically, he said since the Boko Haram had expressed loss of confidence in the document and opted for Sharia, the need to take another look at the document has become expedient.
He recalled that even when the Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) bombed Abuja last year, it equally faulted the Constitution.
The elder statesman stressed that though the United States had warned that the country may collapse by 2015, signs of a failed state were all over the country already.
Source : Daily Sun
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