Following the launching of multiple rocket attacks in Maiduguri, Borno state capital, by Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) hours before the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, the Federal Government yesterday expressed worry over terrorists’ ability to fire rockets.
The Federal Government expressed concern on a day Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state cried out for help saying Kano forests had been taken over by terrorists, armed robbers, bandits, and criminal elements.
Recall that hours before the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari in Maiduguri, Borno State, on Thursday, multiple rockets explosions rocked the capital with rockets landing on many houses around Ngomari, Bulumkutu and Ayafe communities near the airport. This reportedly forced a massive deployment of troops to battle with ISWAP elements and to foil the attack by the terrorists.
Fielding questions from State House Correspondents after a security council meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on the attack, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Alkali Baba Usman said the ability of the terrorists to strike with rockets was worrisome.
The police boss said the terrorists were however unable to achieve their objectives with the rocket’s launch.
Flanked by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the IGP said, “They are launching it in major towns, they are launching it in Maiduguri. It is a concern. And it has been seriously checkmated. There are efforts to continuously checkmate it. What they have done yesterday (Thursday), yes, they have done it, but to a large extent, they have not achieved what they have intended to achieve because of the situation the security agencies particularly the military put in place.”
On whether the security agencies have been able to determine the origins of the rockets, the IGP said it had been done before and after the firing incident occurred.
He said, “Yes, it had been done before and even after. Some of those who must have planned and thrown those rockets have been taken out.”
The IGP said that the security agencies were trying to improve on what they were already doing “to ensure there is peace, law, and order during the Yuletide period and beyond.”
He reiterated President Buhari’s marching orders to security agencies, which he said are always the same.
Explaining, Baba said: “The marching orders are always the same, you have even told Nigerians the marching orders of the President. It has always been the same. There is no space, there is no tolerance to any threat to security. There is no sparing of any terrorists and there must be an intelligence gathering, there must be proactive prevention of crime and there must be checkmating of all those that are involved in criminal activities, whether it is terrorism, banditry or armed robbery or whatever and that is what we are trying to do to the best of our knowledge and ability.”
The Federal Government has also said that there was no cause for alarm on the alleged leaked memo where security intelligence revealed that terrorists have planned to attack the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, during the festive period even as it explained that the nature of criminality in the Southeast was responsible for the high presence of police on the roads.
There has been lamentation in the Southeast over the alleged harassment and extortion at different checkpoints by the security agencies on the roads.
Answering the question of whether there was special interest in the area that has made the security agencies flood the area with personnel in virtually every 500 meters even in the midst of increasing rate of banditry in some parts of the North, the IGP said that it was the problem of having many people in small areas.
Comparing the north and the east he said: “Where there are more people you have the problem of policing than where you don’t have. What we have in some of the states(in the north) is a big landmass without actually having too many people.
“In some spaces (in the east) we have too many people in a small place. That means there is human interaction and you need to have to police there much more than what you have where you don’t have that number of population.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who led the briefing on the outcome of the security meeting, assured that there was no threat to safety and security in the Federal Capital Territory
Asked about the leaked memo of planned terrorists’ attack, Aregbesola said: “Abuja is secure and very safe. If there was a leak, as you mentioned, it could just be an operational alert that does not require any worry or concern. The Council has mandated us to assure Nigerians of their safety and enduring peace for the period of the festivities.” The minister said the council had asked them to assure Nigerians that measures were in place to ensure their safety during the Christmas season and beyond.
“The message of the Security Council, through you to Nigerians, is that all measures for the safety and security of the Nigerian people and Nigeria are in place for a successful and happy celebration of the yuletide and the New Year,” he stated.
We need help, Gov Ganduje begs Buhari
Meanwhile, the Kano State State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, yesterday appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to come to the aid of the state as its forests have been taken over by terrorists, armed robbers, bandits, and criminal elements.
Speaking to State House after meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the governor called for the establishment of another military training base in the forest bordering Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, and Plateau, to check the activities of the criminals.
He said he was at the Presidential Villa to brief President Buhari about the security situation in his state, describing the current security challenges in the country as unfortunate.
He said, “I came to brief the President on the security situation in Kano. There are challenges all over the country that are unfortunate, but we believe Mr. President is doing his best with other stakeholders in order to curtail the situation.
“We need the helping hand of almost everybody, especially governors and chairmen of local governments. We have observed that our forests are the major problems because they accommodate bandits, terrorists, armed robbers, and other criminal elements.
“In Kano State, we have taken some measures. We have two large forests, the Falgore forest, which is bordering Kano, Kaduna, and Bauchi and also not far away from Plateau. In that forest, we established a military training ground in conjunction with the Army. And there’s a lot of military training going on in that forest using the facilities that we have provided. So, that is helping to checkmate the activities of bandits in that forest and I have requested Mr. President to also establish another institution within that forest and that forest will be liberated completely
“Also, we have introduced technology within the forest, from the office of the DSS in Kano and the Office of the Commissioner of Police and even from my office, we are able to monitor what is happening in that forest. And there’s effective communication between the DSS and the police and those who are managing the forest, the checkpoints, and various places that security agencies are manning.
“Also on community policing, we are making it a very important agenda. The traditional rulers right from the district heads, village heads, ward heads, Imams, and major stakeholders; are holding regular meetings and the security agencies get a lot of information for the local people that are helping Kano state a lot. In Kano metropolis where we have eight mega local governments, we are establishing some technology. In particular, we’re improving the network system, we’re laying over 100 kilometers optic fibre within Kano so that CCTV cameras will be more effective and we can manage the whole megacity in terms of security and also in terms of improvement of the network.
“We have also constituted what we call an enlarged Security Committee and not limiting it to the Air Force, Army, Police, DSS Civil Defence. I think the security network in terms of the flow of information, requires much more than that.
“So, we are including Customs, Immigration, Correctional homes, those involved in Human Trafficking Prevention of Human trafficking, NAFDAC, even the NDLEA, because of drugs, the Federal Road Safety Corps, as well as our own local traffic managers, Karota, the Vigilante group, all these we put them into one committee where we hold meetings and exchange information. They constitute subcommittees that relate to community policing and through that, we have a lot of information and that is helping the system to be effective and efficient.
“Also, we introduced technology. As earlier mentioned, we have the most powerful tracker in the country. Through that one, even some people who escaped to the Niger Republic, Cameroon, we’re able to trace them and connect with international security agencies for their arrest. So, Kano is the most or one of the most peaceful states in the federation, because of this multi-faceted approach that we have adopted in order to secure the state and we shall continue to do that.