The alarm raised recently by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) bordering on the fact that there are Boko Haram terrorist camps in and around the Federal Capital Territory, asking its officers in Abuja to stay alert should not be taken lightly. The matter is quite worrisome owing to the fact that Boko Haram had attacked the FCT on three previous occasions killing scores of people.
In a notice with reference NCS/ENF/ABJ/180/S.I/VOL.II, issued by the Comptroller, Enforcement Headquarters, H.A. Sabo, in Wuse Zone 3, Abuja, the NCS said it had information that terrorists were in Abuja.In the notice titled, “Intelligence on National Security,” the NCS said, “Information reaching the Comptroller-General of Customs revealed the existence of Boko Haram terrorist camps in and around the Federal Capital Territory.”
The NCS also stated in the notice sighted on Saturday and dated August 20, 2020, that reports had it that the terrorists were planning to attack some selected targets within the territory. It added that the terrorists had reportedly set up their camps in Kunyan Bush along airport road, off DIA Staff Quarters, Abuja.
It said that their camps were reportedly also set up in Robochi/Gwagwalada forest, Kwaku forest in the Kuje area of Abuja and Unaisha forest in the Toto local government area of Nasarawa state. “Consequently, you are to be alert and security conscious of your environment at all times. Ensure wide circulation please,” the NCS told its officers.
It is, however, a soothing relief that the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, in response to the leaked internal memo reportedly emanating from the NCS indicated that Boko Haram was setting up camps within and around Abuja creating tension within the city, has assured residents of the safety of lives and property in the territory, even as he said the situation was not as it appeared.
Fielding questions from journalists at the Force headquarters, Adamu, who did not elaborate on his statement, said a press conference would be held soon by the Public Relations Officers of the Nigeria Police, Defence and Customs to address the matter and give a true picture of the situation. Meanwhile, the IGP met with squadron commanders, on the heels of the development, to review and discuss current internal security threats and re-evaluate strategies, as well as their roles and performances in addressing the threats.
Addressing commanders, the police boss said the meeting was convened as part of an all-inclusive approach premised on engaging officers across various sections of the force in addressing policing and internal security issues. He said the country was faced with major internal security threats occasioned by terrorism, banditry, armed robbery as well as small arms and light weapons trafficking and proliferation.
Adamu, who said the Mobile Police Force was central to their operational plans towards addressing these threats, maintained that the unit has remained at the forefront of the counter-terrorism operations and has over the years been fighting side by side with the military in the North-east in this respect.
“I am proud to note that in all of these operations, you have been performing gallantly and excellently. By so doing, you have justified why today the Nigeria Police Mobile Force, in spite of isolated challenges, is still considered as the most critical force in our drive to stabilise the internal security order. All these would not have been possible without the courageous, dedicated and professional leadership that you, as commanders, have been providing to your personnel across the 79 squadrons in the country. I, therefore, use this opportunity to commend and thank you for your sacrifice and dedication,” he said.
He assured that more of such high-level professional leadership would be required of them as they are deployed on election security duties in the upcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states. He warned that policemen deployed for the assignment must operate strictly within the dictates of the Electoral Act, exhibit a high level of professionalism, be non-partisan and embrace a civil orientation to the electorate.
Adamu assured residents of Edo and Ondo states of the readiness of the Police in conjunction with INEC and other security agencies to ensure success in the elections, just as he warned politicians and the electorate to operate within the confines of the law.
The IGP promised a level playing field for all political actors and warned that anyone, regardless of political leaning, that attempts to test the will of the law enforcement agents by threatening would be promptly identified, isolated and brought to justice.
In the same vein, the Defence Headquarters of the Nigerian military says the residents of Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, cum other adjoining states’ should go about their normal legitimate businesses, despite the rumour that an attack is likely in the country’s capital city.
We are worried by the renewed threat to the FCT by the Boko Haram insurgents at a time many believed that the insurgents had been degraded by the Nigerian troops. We are however optimistic that the security agents will leave up to the challenge of nipping the threat in the bud through the deployment of a proactive rather than a retroactive mechanism.