More details have emerged on how the Nigerian Army trailed and arrested in Lagos some 13 Boko Haram terrorists, who had coordinated and carried out several deadly attacks on troops in the North-east, including those that killed many security operatives.
The suspects were arrested during a raid on their hideouts at the Itapeju area of Apapa, in Lagos.
THISDAY reliably gathered that after carrying out several deadly attacks on civilians and troops, the suspects fled to Lagos and hid in a terrorist sleeper cell at Itapeju.
According to findings, the terrorists had fled to Lagos because operatives of Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK), a Joint Task Force in the North-east, launched a massive reprisal onslaught, which dealt decisively with the terrorists, bandits and other criminals in the axis.
However, the troops gradually built intelligence, with the help of credible informants, and infiltrated the terrorists, leading to their arrest.
In a tight need-to-know operation, the army had swooped in on the hideouts and arrested the suspects. At the moment, they have been transferred back to Maiduguri theatre of operation for profiling before hand over to the appropriate authorities for prosecution.
In a similar development, the 9 Brigade, 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, on Friday in Lagos arrested one Ibrahim Abdullahi with eight 600mm mortar bomb explosives.
The 24-year-old suspect, alongside his accomplices, were said to have attempted to infiltrate the Ikeja cantonment with the explosives, when they were accosted by operatives, who demanded to know the contents of their bag.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya, charged officers and soldiers of the newly formed 6 Brigade of the Nigerian Army to exhibit professionalism and discipline in the conduct of their operations and other engagements in their area of responsibility. Yahaya gave the charge today during a tour of the Headquarters, 6 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Jalingo, as part of his operational and assessment visit to formations and units of the Nigerian Army across the country.
THISDAY gathered that the officers on duty at 9 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Lagos, were alerted by the suspicious movements of the suspect and his collaborators currently at large.
On sighting the uncharged mortar and the detonators, Abdullahi was swiftly arrested while the others fled. He was immediately profiled and handed over to the State Criminal Intelligence Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba, which had equally commenced investigation.
That same Friday, the suspect was charged before the Ebute Meta Magistrates’ Court and consequently remanded in custody while moves are in top gear to mop up other fleeing suspects.
The prosecutor, Inspector Olatunde Kehinde, asked the court to remand the defendant in custody pending the outcome of investigation and the advice of Department of Public Prosecution (DPP).
Presiding Magistrate, Mrs. A.A. Oshoniyi, ordered the remand of Abdullahi pending the outcome of DPP’s advice.
In another breath, THISDAY has gathered that the recent mop up of suspects in Lagos had spurred the army to intensify moves to uncover all probable sleeper cells in the state and Ogun, both under same jurisdiction.
Given the continuous onslaught in the North-east, the dislodged terrorists have continued to move down to Lagos and other South-west states to hide as they hatch further plans to carry out their nefarious activities. In the past five years, there have been several attempts by terrorists to wreak havoc on Lagos, especially, volatile areas like Apapa with tank farms, which were foiled by security agencies. There have also been alleged plans to blow up the Third Mainland Bridge.
Intelligence made available to THISDAY indicated that the dislodged terrorists from the North were scattered across Lagos.
Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, once confirmed intelligence reports about the growing number of sleeper cells across the state. Odumosu had, however, reassured citizens that the police and other security agencies were on top of their game to infiltrate the groups, dislodge and arrest them.
THISDAY’s independent checks at the Kirikiri Maximum Correctional Centre attested to the large number of Boko Haram suspects, who had been tried and sentenced for their acts against humanity.
Some of the aborted attacks were re-echoed by the Department of State Services (DSS), which in a recent memo to the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), dated November 25, 2021, raised the alarm over plans by insurgents to attack military bases and border towns.
In the alert addressed to the Customs Area Controller, Ogun Area Command, Abeokuta, the DSS advised customs and other security agencies in the country to put counter-measures in place.
Titled, “Plans by insurgents to launch attacks on military bases in various border communities,” the letter, signed by the DSS Director, Ogun State Command, M.B. Abdullahi, said, “Available intelligence indicates plans by insurgents and criminal elements to carry out simultaneous attacks on military posts and bases in various border communities across the nation anytime from now.”
It added, “In view of the foregoing and the likelihood, such attacks not limited to the military personnel only, all law enforcement and security agencies with operational bases at border communities are advised to take note of the above threat and emplace countermeasures with emphasis on personal security of operatives to frustrate the planned attack, please.”
In Jalingo, Yahaya was given a security brief on the brigade’s area of responsibility by the Commander 6 Brigade, Brig Gen Hillary Mabeokwu.
The army chief pledged to provide requisite logistics for the full take-off of the new brigade. He later commissioned the newly constructed 6 Brigade Garrison office and Quarter Guard, before proceeding to inspect the proposed permanent site of the brigade.
An army statement said the Chief of Army Staff expressed appreciation to the government and people of Taraba State for providing the Nigerian Army land to build the brigade.