- Commendation as DSS Foils ISIS Plot to Attack US, UK Embassies
The Department of State Services said in Abuja, on Wednesday, that it had burst a ring of ISIS-linked Boko Haram members based in Benue State and the Federal Capital Territory.
It said during the operation, which was carried out on March 25 and 26, five key suspects were arrested.
The service gave their names of the suspects as Jibril Isa, Jibril Jibril, Omale Jibril, Halidu Sule and Amhodu Salifu.
Before the arrest of the suspects, it alleged that the group had perfected plans to attack the United Kingdom and the United States of America embassies and other Western interests in Abuja.
This information was contained in a statement on behalf of the DSS by its spokesman, Mr. Tony Opuiyo.
Meanwhile, the United States and the United Kingdom have commended the DSS for foiling a terror plot against the American embassy, the U.K. High Commission and other targets in Abuja.
The DSS said on March 22 at Fika, Yobe State, a 20-year-old Boko Haram member, Adamu Daitti, who was arrested, confessed his involvement in executing the sinister activities of the group.
Opuiyo added that on April 4, two suspected Ansaru kingpins, Ahmed Momoh and Al-amin Mohammed Jamin, were arrested at Igarra, Akoko Edo, Edo State.
He stated that the two suspects had been confirmed to be associates of Abu Uwais, who he said was a key Ansaru kingpin terrorising residents of Kogi and Edo states.
He explained that while these terror suspects were already undergoing detailed interrogation, the service had also stepped up its efforts at stamping out the menace of kidnapping.
In Rivers State for instance, he said one Daniel Diniamaka was arrested on March 24 at the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area for his alleged complicity in the kidnap of one Emmanuel Ukah on January 20.
On that same day, Opuiyo said one Godsgift Isioma was arrested in connection with his plan to kidnap one Dr. G. N Douglas.
Determined to decisively deal with the ugly menace of kidnapping and the increasing violence in Benue State, Opuiyo added that the DSS, on March 23, at Bangaji, Gboko, Benue State, arrested Daniel Lorve, who was described as a member of the Terwase Akwaaza (aka Gana)-led notorious kidnapping and terrorist group.
He added that “investigation in this regard prompted a joint military/Police/Service operation, which resulted in the raid on a farm suspected to have housed the armoury of Akwaaza, known for terrorising Katsina-Ala, Logo and Ukum LGAs of the state.”
He listed high-calibre arms and ammunition recovered from the scene as one General Purpose Machine Gun, three AK-47 rifles and one SMG rifle with large quantities of ammunition.
In Kogi State, he stated that the service, on March 29, 2017, arrested Abdulmojid Momoh and Ahmed Tijani Dodo at the Adavi LGA for their alleged involvement in kidnapping.
In a similar vein, he said Salau Ontinwa (aka General) and Abdulmajeed Musa were arrested on March 30 at the same Adavi for similar kidnap crimes.
Opuiyo added, “Preliminary investigation showed that the three suspects are key members of the dreaded gang terrorising innocent citizens and other travellers across the state.
“Prior to these operations in the state, a gun-runner, only identified as Kareem, was arrested on March 27 for supplying weapons to criminals, especially Abu Uwais, the Ansaru kingpin and notorious kidnapper.”
In furtherance of the service’s efforts to check possession of illegal arms, Opuiyo said the DSS arrested Chukwujioke Igburu at Ikwo, Ebonyi State, in a joint military/DSS operation on April 7.
The suspect, he said, was alleged to be one of the masterminds of the clashes between his Ojenakpa community and neighbouring Isobo community in the Obubra LGA of Cross River State.
He said the suspect was arrested while in possession of a G3 rifle.
In Abia State, Opuiyo stated that Freeborn Chisom from Ikeduru, Imo State, was arrested at Nzaocha Street, Aba, for allegedly engaging in subversive activities against public servants.
Chisom, who was described as an ICT expert, was alleged to have used the social media, especially blogs, to launch negative campaigns against the persons and offices of top government officials by telling lies against them and making them appear weak and incapable of holding their posts.
“He also used his platform to incite one ethnic group to violently attack another, thus creating tension and social disharmony,” Opuiyo said.
The statement added that the service had been able to uncover a racketeering network involved in the issuance of Certificates/Letters of Indigeneship to persons from neighbouring African countries.
Opuiyo alleged that the action was being used to boost the activities of the Boko Haram sect in the country.
He stated, “The Boko Haram terrorist group has become part of this network and uses it to buoy its membership in Nigeria.
“A particular case was the arrest on April 10 at Damaturu, Yobe State, of Jalo, a Jos resident Guinean and Boko Haram suspect.
“It is also discovered that these non-Nigerians use their new indigene status to seek privileges including admissions into the country’s tertiary institutions.”
In order to check this ugly development, state and local authorities were advised to be more circumspect in the issuance of these certificates/letters of indigeneship.
Opuiyo also said the service was aware of the efforts allegedly being made by some individuals to create what he described as a deep sense of insecurity in some parts of the country simply for their own selfish interest.
He explained that the case of former Governor of Benue State, Mr. Gabriel Suswam, was an instance.
Suswan has been detained by the DSS since February 25 in Abuja in connection with alleged discovery of arms in a car on February 24.
The service had claimed that it made the discoveries after executing a search warrant, at the property of Dunes Investment and Global Properties Ltd, located at No 44 Aguiyi Ironsi Way, Maitama, Abuja.
Items said to have been found in the car included Glock pistol with two magazines and a total of 29 rounds of ammunition; Mini-Uzi with two magazines, containing 10 rounds and four rounds respectively; 42 extra rounds of ammunition contained in a pack; and one AK-47.
Opuiyo said in the statement on Wednesday, that the former governor was being detained because of his refusal to cooperate with the agency on the discovery of guns found in a car said to belong to him by the DSS.
He added, “The service has continued to hold him in line with the dictates of the law – more so that he has not cooperated on the issues concerning the recovery of large cache of arms at his facilities.
“While investigation is ongoing on this matter, the service has valid detention warrants to keep him. He will be charged accordingly once the investigations are concluded.”
US, UK commend DSS for foiling terror plot
The Press Attache, US Mission, Russell Brooks, told one of our correspondents on Wednesday that the embassy appreciated the work by the secret service and other Nigerian security forces in fighting terrorism and keeping citizens and residents safe.
Brooks, in his reaction, noted that America and Nigeria had a strong partnership in countering violent extremism.
He said, “The US Embassy appreciates the work of DSS and the Nigerian security forces in fighting terrorism and keeping citizens and residents safe. Nigeria and the US continue to have a strong partnership in countering violent extremism.”
Also, the UK High Commission spokesman, Joseph Abuku, in an email, expressed gratitude to the DSS for protecting the diplomatic staff and premises in Nigeria.
“We are grateful for the support we receive from the Nigerian security authorities in protecting UK diplomatic staff and premises in Nigeria.
“We are in regular contact with the Nigerian security authorities concerning potential threats to UK interests in Nigeria,” Abuku said.
China Urges U.N. States Not to Attend Xinjiang Event Next Week
China has urged United Nations member states not to attend an event planned next week by Germany, the United States and Britain on the repression of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang, according to a note seen by Reuters on Friday.
“It is a politically-motivated event,” China’s U.N. mission wrote in the note, dated Thursday. “We request your mission NOT to participate in this anti-China event.”
China charged that the organizers of the event, which also include several other European states along with Australia and Canada, use “human rights issues as a political tool to interfere in China’s internal affairs like Xinjiang, to create division and turbulence and disrupt China’s development.”
“They are obsessed with provoking confrontation with China,” the note said, adding that “the provocative event can only lead to more confrontation.”
The Chinese mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The ambassadors of the United States, Germany and Britain are due to address the virtual U.N. event on Wednesday, along with Human Rights Watch Executive Director Ken Roth and Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard.
The aim of the event is to “discuss how the U.N. system, member states and civil society can support and advocate for the human rights of members of ethnic Turkic communities in Xinjiang,” according to an invitation.
Western states and rights groups have accused authorities in Xinjiang of detaining and torturing Uyghurs in camps, which the United States has described as genocide. In January, Washington banned the import of cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang over allegations of forced labor.
Beijing denies the accusations and describes the camps as vocational training centers to combat religious extremism.
“Beijing has been trying for years to bully governments into silence but that strategy has failed miserably, as more and states step forward to voice horror and revulsion at China’s crimes against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims,” Human Rights Watch U.N. director Louis Charbonneau said on Friday.
Lawmakers Tensed Over Possible Boko Haram Attack On National Assembly
Lawmakers have been notified of a possible attack by Boko Haram insurgents on the National Assembly complex and other public buildings in Abuja, The media gathered.
Several members of the House of Representatives, on Wednesday, confirmed to Punch correspondent that they had been notified of the imminent attack by the terrorist group.
One of them, who is from a state in the South-West, said his presence would henceforth be limited on the premises.
“That is the security alert I saw today. I’m already moving out of here. I’ll only be around when there is a major reason to do so. Nowhere is safe in the country anymore,” he said.
Already the notice of the impending attack has been made available to the lawmakers.
The notice, a copy of which our correspondent obtained, was sent to the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, other principal officers and all members of the House.
The ‘security alert’, dated May 4, 2021, was issued by the Chairman of the House Committee on Internal Security, National Assembly, Mr. Usman Shiddi.
It was titled ‘Re: planned insurgent attacks on VIP locations, government facilities and assets in Abuja.’
The alert read, “I refer to the above subject of which a copy of the intelligence report from the Force Intelligence Bureau of the Nigeria Police Force in the National Assembly Complex has been made available to my office.
“The report indicates planned insurgent attacks by some elements of Boko Haram on some VIP locations, government facilities and assets in Abuja, including the National Assembly complex.
“In view of the above intelligence, I have considered it paramount to advise that all members should, henceforth, use the presidential gate for ingress and egress.
“This is to avoid the unforeseen congestions that are sometimes encountered at the main gates since such congestions could easily be the targets for these insurgent elements.
“Security agencies are, however, actively on top of the issue to unravel and to contain the intended menace. Accept the assurances of my highest regards, please.”
Security has been beefed up in and around the complex since Thursday last week.
For the first time, security operatives on that day checked vehicles entering the premises, causing traffic congestion especially at the third (and last) gate, a process that has continued to date.
Before now, the security operatives were only after the identities of drivers and passengers to confirm that they were staff members, legislative aides, journalists, or persons working in private businesses in the complex.
The media correspondent observed that soldiers joined the regular sergeants-at-arms and men of the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Services, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Federal Road Safety Corps that manned the gates.
Recall that the Governor of Niger State, Sani Bello, had on April 26, 2021, raised the alarm over Boko Haram terrorists taking over a part of the state, hoisting their flag in Kaure village from where they had made incursions into more than 50 villages.
Bello said Abuja was not safe, with Boko Haram’s presence in Kaure – a two-hour journey from the Federal Capital Territory.
He said, “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.”
The same day, Gbajabiamila had met with the President, Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, in company with the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa.
On the next day, the House held a long executive (closed-door) session to discuss the rising spate of insecurity across Nigeria, calling on Buhari to declare a state of emergency on security.
At the secret session that lasted over three hours, the lawmakers unanimously adopted a series of resolutions, one of which was that “the Federal Government should ensure the protection of national infrastructure and assets, particularly the Shiroro and Kainji Dams in Niger State.”
Lagos State Plans To Launch 500 Small New Buses Next Week
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has promised to introduce 500 small new buses to the state by next week Thursday in a bid to provide alternatives to local motorcycles.
The Governor said this in a speech on Wednesday to mark the opening ceremony of the Lagos Architect Forum. The forum themed, ‘The City of Lagos: The Next Twenty Five Years’ was organised by the Nigerian Institute of Architects, Lagos chapter, at the Expo Hall of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island.
The 4-day forum which will run till Saturday had in attendance other dignitaries including the Oniru of Iru Land, HRM Oba Abdulwasiu Omogbolahan Lawal; the Lagos State Chairman of the NIA, Arc. David Majekodunmi; SA to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye; and the President-elect of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, Arc. Enyi Ben-Eboh.
In his speech, the governor noted the progress made in the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda and his vision for the Lagos master plan to ensure that Lagos becomes ‘Africa’s model megacity’ by 2050. Acknowledging the challenges in the transport sector, the Governor gave assurances on improving the various modes of transport including the roads, waterways and rail lines.
“For the waterways, we’re currently building 16 jetties and terminals. About seven of them should be ready before the end of the year; we have some that are already currently being used.
“All of them will not look as nice as the one at Falomo, but we want all of them to be comfortable. We have a fleet of almost 20 boats now each carrying 50, 60, 40 passengers. We want people to use the waterways which is why we’re investing in them,” Sanwo-Olu said.
On road and rail transport, Sanwo-Olu said the state would soon begin to operate 100 new high-capacity buses, with plans to launch 500 LASTMA small buses by next week Wednesday or Thursday as alternatives to okadas that don’t have enough passenger space. He also promised that one of either the blue or red rail lines will become operational by next year.
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