The military and other security agencies including the Nigeria Immigration Service have intensified security within Abuja following a warning from the Presidency over a planned attack by some terrorists during the Christmas holiday.
The information is contained in a letter dated December 23, 2021, and titled, ‘Terrorists Plan Attacks In Abuja’, the immigration authorities informed its officers that the information on the impending attack was from the Presidency.
The letter which was signed by the Land Border Patrol Commander, Edirin Okoto, on behalf of the Acting Comptroller General of Immigration Service, Idris Jere, stated that the terrorists were coming from Mali, one of whom possessed a diplomatic passport
The letter was addressed to all sector commanders and border patrol corps all over the country. They include those at the Seme, Idi Iroko, Jibia, Illela land borders, as well as immigration officers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, amongst others.
It read, “The Office of the Ag CGI is in receipt of a Security Report (URGENT) from the Presidency. The import is about a looming attack on Nigeria’s Capital City, Abuja, between 17th and 31st December, 2021. The planned attack is purportedly being led by one Drahmane Ould Ali aka Mohammed Ould Sidat, an Algerian national to be assisted by one Zahid Aminon, a Nigerien national.
“The report indicates the duo is en route Nigeria from Mali through Gan and Niger Republic, riding a white Toyota Hilux van with Reg. No- AG157EKY; that these two had four Nigerian accomplices who are already embedded in the country.
“It is further reported that Ali holds an Algerian diplomatic passport with the name Najim Ould Ibrahim. Consequently, I am directed to request you to intensify alert levels, emplace necessary countermeasures at all our entry/exit points- air, land, sea/marine, including, but not limited to, surveillance, rigorous search on persons and vehicles, transhumance, to effectuate the immediate arrest of these terrorists/countervail this and any terrorist attacks in Abuja.”
Strategies in place to avert attacks, no cause for alarm – Immigration
When contacted, the spokesperson for the NIS, Amos Okpo, confirmed the letter emanated from the service.
He added that the service had put in place measures to prevent the proposed attack.
Okpo said, “The letter is a normal intelligence we do issue across our formations. This just happened to be in the public. There is no cause for alarm. The residents should not panic. I can assure you that the needful is being done to avert the planned attack.”
Plan can never work, FCT security network intact, says Guard Brigade
Also in a chat with The PUNCH, the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations Guards Brigade, Captain Godfrey Abakpa, said the planned attack would not succeed, adding that the security structures in the FCT were intact.
He said, “The brigade has recently been conducting several operations in the FCT to ensure it is adequately secured. The brigade is always on top of the security situations. Residents should not panic. The security situation in the FCT is under control.
“The aim of every terrorist group is to instill fear in the populace. That may be what they are trying to do. Their plans can never work, the whole security structures in the FCT is intact. “
However, some residents have expressed fear over the planned attack on the nation’s capital.
The President, Mab Global Estate in Karsana, Ahmed Thedicha, said the security operatives should not treat the threat with kid gloves.
He said, “An attack at this point in time would not be good in the nation’s capital. The security operatives should act fast and take the threat seriously.”
Also, the Public Relations Officer of Pegi Landlord Association, Oyedeji Oyetunji said, “We have experience terrorist attacks before in the FCT during the height of Boko Haram, that experience was devastating.
“We do not hope for another. This must not be allowed to happen. The president should give the marching order to the head of security operatives in the FCT and ensure that our security is guaranteed.”
Abuja has in recent times witnessed a spike in violent attacks including abductions especially on the outskirts.
Two officials of the Department of State Services were abducted by armed men on Saturday and are still in captivity.
The assailants had attacked the DSS outpost in Abaji, Abaji Area Council of Abuja, killing a vigilante
The DSS had in November 2021 informed the Nigeria Customs Service over planned attacks by insurgents at border communities across the country anytime from now.
The Niger State Government said earlier in the year that Boko Haram had hoisted its flags in Kaure and Shiroro local government areas of the state.
Shiroro which had become a hotbed of crime, is approximately 140km from the Abuja metropolis and barely two and a half hours by road.
Governor Abubakar Bello said the terrorists had displaced over 3,000 residents of the affected communities.
“I am confirming that there are Boko Haram elements here in Niger state, here in Kaure, I am confirming that they have hoisted their flags here. Their wives (of the villagers) have been seized from them and forcefully attached to Boko Haram members. I just heard that they have placed their flags at Kaure, meaning they have taken over the territory,” he had said.
Bello further said he had earlier alerted the Federal Government but action had been slow.
“This is what I have been engaging the Federal Government on. Unfortunately, it has now got to this level. If care is not taken, even Abuja is not safe. We have been saying this for long. All our efforts have been in vain,” the governor had said.