Impending Terror Attacks: Buhari Vows To Crush Insecurity As Un Alerts Nigerians
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday renewed his commitment to deploy resources to deal decisively with the security challenges bedeviling the country. Buhari spoke at an extraordinary meeting of the National Security Council which held yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The highest security body in the country is chaired by the President and sits once every quarter to discuss the most critical issues affecting security in the country generally. This came as bandits on Wednesday reportedly killed eight people in a fresh attack on Gonan Rogo settlement in Kufana District, Kajuru Local Council of Kaduna State. The incident followed the killing of 17 people a day before in the same village.
Buhari, while presiding over the meeting, said he would redouble his effort in ensuring the realization of the primary responsibility of government, which is to ensure the safety of lives and property. The meeting was reportedly called by the president following the recent upsurge on security challenges pervading some parts of the country, particularly in Kaduna and Nasarawa States.
Buhari’s pledge came on the heels of a report by the UN Department for Safety and Security (UNDSS) alerting Nigerians on what it said were looming complex and coordinated attacks on the nation’s critical infrastructure, calling for urgent review and implementation of anti-terrorism measures. According to the UNDSS Nigeria, information received indicated an increased likelihood of terrorist activity, including the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and complex attacks against critical national infrastructure and High-Value Targets (HVTs) in Nigeria.
The UN agency, in its latest Security Threat Information (STI) and Advisory report on Nigeria said based on the information at its disposal, Boko Haram was likely planning to exploit the momentum of the host government’s strain due to COVID-19 spread to conduct a series of coordinated simultaneous attacks and so weaken the government’s efforts, to disturb and distract military activities in the North-east and to gain greater local and regional attention and acceptance.
The report, a copy of which was obtained by Huhuonline.com was released by the Chief Security Adviser (CSA) and UNDSS Representative to Nigeria, Robert Marinovic. The report: “…assessed that we are at the beginning of the security crisis characterized by a wide spectrum of interconnected crisis (civil unrests, crime and the increasing threat of terrorism), that were fuming for quite some time and now released by Covid-19 impact on the government and population.
“In this context, the critical infrastructure are considered any of economic or security entities and their premises (petrol industry installations, banks, governmental facilities, shopping malls, hotels, etc), at any location in the country, especially state capitals, including Lagos and Abuja. Though the UN in Nigeria is not the primary target for the terrorist activity, it is assessed that the UN can be impacted as collaterally (while visiting governmental installations, banks, shopping malls, e.t.c.), but also as the target of opportunity, if seen to be less protected (‘soft target’).”
The UNDSS added that it had already assessed the likelihood of such terrorist activity and included it in all respective areas of UN Security Management Systems’ (UNSMS) Security Risk Management (SRMs) in Nigeria, stressing that, the strict implementation of and compliance with standing security measures are of paramount importance. The UNDSS recommended among others that Nigeria should ensure all SRM measures, especially those against terrorism threats, are urgently reviewed and fully implemented.
It directed its Security Focal Points (SFPs) to alert security guards and host government security in and around UN compounds, on the above-described threat in order to be vigilant against possible hostile surveillance (that usually precedes terrorist attack). It said UN personnel should patronize only neighborhood markets and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), rather than big shopping malls or banks, to avoid unnecessary risk. It also advised that emergency phone numbers (emergency contact card distributed by UNDSS SWA) should be kept handy at all times; while respective Security Operations Centers (SOC) should be informed of all suspicious movements/observations. It also urged SFPs to circulate and disseminate the message to their respective personnel.
However, President Buhari pledged to deploy available resources to combat security challenges causing sorrows and trauma to Nigerians. The President said Nigerians deserved a much more peaceful environment, promising that nothing would be left to chance in achieving the objective for the citizens.
Addressing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), said the council received a comprehensive brief from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 on the gains made so far, highlighting areas of concern which needed urgent attention as well as make projections for the next couple of weeks.
Monguno said he also spoke in his capacity as the NSA, informing members on the insurgency in the North East, armed banditry and emergence of all kinds of non-state groups and actors in addition to kidnappings which have resumed frightening dimension in recent times.
In a related development, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has indicted the federal and state governments for the mayhems, claiming that there had “been no honesty and commitment in putting an end to the bloody crisis.” In a statement after its emergency meeting, the state CAN chairman, Reverend Joseph Hayab, cautioned the President and Governor Nasir el-Rufai against complacency in managing the security challenges.
He reminded the duo that “leadership is a serious business of safeguarding lives and prosperity. Hence, leadership is not about oratory, but the taking of firm steps and actions towards stopping evil from destroying the land.” Besides, stakeholders have urged swift boundary demarcation between Taraba and Benue to check the persistent bloody clashes among the Tiv and Jukun ethnic groups in the North-East state. During a peace meeting organised by Governor Darius Ishaku yesterday in Jalingo, the indigenes agreed on the immediate cessation of the pogrom. The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Danjuma Adamu, who spoke on behalf of the Jukun, and the representative of the Tiv, Jimme Yongu, concurred that upheavals were not the best way of resolving disputes.
Also yesterday, troops of Sector 1, Operation Lafiya Dole said they had killed nine Boko Haram terrorists who were transiting the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway at the Mainok/Jakana end of Borno State.
Army spokesman, Colonel Sagir Musa, in a statement in Maiduguri clarified that the soldiers ambushed the insurgents and recovered two gun trucks, while others fled with gunshot wounds. “So far, nine Boko Haram terrorists lost their lives and two gun trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns have been captured during ongoing counter-insurgency operations,” he said.