To forestall any breach of security in Lagos State, especially in the light of intelligence report that some dislodged Boko Haram sect members are relocating to the South-west, personnel of the Nigerian Army (NA) have been placed on high alert in strategic areas and flash points.
This is just as the Army in the last seven months has arrested about 54 members of the sect in different operations in Lagos and recovered as many as 14 explosives, AK47 rifles and various types of ammunition from the arrested suspects.
The outgoing General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division of the NA, Major General Obi Umahi, made this disclosure in an interview with journalists during the change of guard to mark his handing over to his successor, Major General TI Dibi.
It would be recalled that the Army had not long ago arrested over 60 Boko Haram suspects who had sneaked into the state after being dislodged from the North-east.
Umahi urged his successor never to work on the assumption that elements of Boko Haram sect are not within the command’s Area of Responsibility (AOR), adding that he should keep watch round the clock and ensure that his alertness level remains high.
Umahi said one of his trying moments as GOC 81 Division was the realities of the existence of Boko Haram elements within Lagos and Ogun States, which are within the commands area of responsibility.
He said, “The most trying moment for me was the point we realised that we were already living with Boko Haram elements. Though we had always assumed they could be around, the realities did not dawn on us until we made the first arrest of 12 suspects.
“At that point, we had to expand our dragnets and spread out networks to garner as many within as possible. This proved a tedious challenge for us but, at the end, we were able to mop 42 of them up. So, I can say that I am leaving Lagos safer than I met it.”
He added, “While some of the initial 12 were set free after screening from the State Security Service (SSS), others are currently facing trial with exhibits such as 14 explosives, AK47 rifles and various types of ammunition, among others.
“The 42 who were subsequently arrested by the command have been profiled, screened and are awaiting trial by the appropriate authorities,” he said.
Umahi said, “They did not come to us as well prepared military intelligence but as rumour. All the same, we do not leave any information lying down. We have acted in response to it and the signs are evident in all military formations.”
Last July, THISDAY had reported on how a two-week raid carried out by a Joint Task Force led by operatives of the Nigerian Army, 81 Division Headquarters, Lagos, may have saved residents in Lagos and Ogun States from possible attacks by terrorists, who had already perfected plans to simultaneously bomb 16 landmark locations in Lagos including tank farms in Apapa and Ijora as well as the popular Third Mainland Bridge.
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