FORCE HQTRS BOMBING: 58 SUSPECTS ARRESTED
The Federal Government in its determination to crush the Islamic sect also directed the embassies of Somalia, Niger and Sudan to compile a comprehensive list of all their nationals in the country in a bid to move against those who were in the country illegally.
Vanguard gathered that the 58 Boko Haram members were moved to Abuja, yesterday, aboard a military aircraft and are currently being detained at the headquarters of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, amid heavy security provided by both members of the Mobile Police and the Anti-terrorist Squad.
Security sources told Vanguard that the arrest of the 58 Boko Haram members with Somalis found in their midst, confirmed the suspicion of the investigating team that Somalia and Sudan nationals who had sympathy for the Boko Haram cause, were working in tandem with the Islamic sect to perpetrate havoc in the country.
Monitoring activities of Somalis and Sudanese
Vanguard also learnt that all security agencies have been placed on the alert and asked to monitor activities of all Somali and Sudanese nationals found in any part of the country as intelligence reports had shown that terrorist from these countries have infiltrated the country.
Giving details of how the suspects were arrested, a source told Vanguard that the Boko Haram members were jubilating their success of hitting the Force headquarters and causing unease in the nation at their hideout in a village, when security agencies swooped on them.
Already, the arrest of the suspects is said to have given the American bomb experts some confidence that the origin of the explosives would be unearthed in no distant time.
Vanguard gathered that the arrest of the 58 Boko Haram members followed the swift reaction of the Federal Government to Thursday's bombing of the Force headquarters in Abuja as it quickly dispatched plain clothes detectives to Maiduguri for covert operation.
Informed security sources told Vanguard that the arrested suspects have made useful statements to the investigating team which is assisting them in getting closer to a solution to the end of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
The source added that their cooperation was giving the security agencies a headway in their investigation as some of them claimed that they did not know what their grievances were as many of them were coerced into the activities of Boko Haram.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Immigration Service, weekend, deployed new screening methods for foreigners coming into the country, as part of strategy to frustrate foreign assistance to the Boko Haram sect.
It was learnt that the immigration service had issued fresh operational directives to all its officers nation wide, particularly those posted to the nation's entry points, detailing enhanced screening procedures for visitors from countries where insurgents were active.
A source who did not want to be named said: 'The service is determined to play its role in frustrating any foreign assistance to this insurgent group. Consequently immigration formalities to and from certain countries where insurgents are active have been stepped up.
'Because of the likelihood of any foreign insurgents taking advantage of the ECOWAS protocol on the free movement of persons and goods to pass through our land borders, we are going to enhance immigration screening formality at border states.'
The source noted that more immigration intelligence operatives have been deployed in some states identified as flash points of insurgent activities as part of measures to identify and fish out foreigners that might have escaped border screening .
The Service Public Relations Officer, Superintendent of Immigration, Joachim Olumba, in a telephone chat declined to name countries that have been singled out for special screening, but confirmed that the Service had directed its officers to enhance immigration screening formalities in the wake of the latest Boko Haram offensive.
Olumba said: 'Security has been intensified. Not only that, we have also directed officers to be conscious of the people who are coming into the country, to give them more screening. Some areas have been fortified. These are flash points like Yobe, Bauchi, Borno. What we have done so far is to increase surveillance. We are working with all the security networks, both the military and SSS. These foreigners that are operating here, all we need is to send them back to where ever they are coming from.'
The spokesman noted the challenge of easily identifying and arresting members of the insurgent group saying, 'these operatives we are talking about are under cover. They are not people you know their identity easily . They do everything possible not to be caught and will try as much as possible not to leave any trace behind.'
Meanwhile, security forces have been placed on red alert in Kano as part of proactive measure to forestall infiltration of criminal elements. Hundreds of combat ready personnel were deployed in strategic places in the city, especially routes linking Kano with Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina and Sokoto.
Similarly, the Navy has intensified security around oil platforms in the Niger Delta region. Addressing officers of the NNS Pathfinder Commanding Officer of the base, Commodore Jerry Unoarumhi charged his men on ground to show more intelligence and diligence while discharging their duties.
He said: 'There have been several threats by militant groups, these calls for security alertness by all. Our oil platforms are very sensitive and must be guided seriously.'
President of the Association of Industrial Security Operators of Nigeria, AISSON, Dr. Onah Ekhomu, said in a statement made available to Vanguard that the terrorists apparently discovered the security lapses through diligent surveillance of the Force headquarters .
The security expert appealed to the international community and Nigeria's development partners to understand that extremists were inexorable in their attacks and have to be lucky once in order to cause death and destruction, reassuring that the Nigerian security community was capable of protecting people and assets from extremist attacks.
Engagement, not use of force, will end Boko Haram violence - ACN
Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, yesterday, said the authorities should urgently engage those behind the worsening Boko Haram-led violence in dialogue, rather than place emphasis on the use of force, as a way of ending the violence.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also urged President Goodluck Jonathan to take the lead in engaging the Boko Haram sect, just like the late President Umaru Yar'Adua took charge of the amnesty programme for the Niger Delta militants, instead of leaving it to the Borno state governor.
The statement advised the police to talk less and show more tact in dealing with the issue, saying it took only days after the Inspector-General of Police Hafiz Ringim boasted, that the days of the sect are numbered, for the sect to take the battle to the IGP's doorsteps with the first-ever suicide bombing in Nigeria's history.
The party urged the government not to be discouraged by the near impossible conditions for dialogue that have been reeled out by Boko Haram sect, saying dialogue will pay off in the end if those involved can stay the course and surmount the obstacles.
It stated: 'Our stand is based on the fact that Boko Haram is a product of politics gone awry, as the former Borno State governor allegedly used the sect to further his political career only to dump it unceremoniously.'