- Category: National Security
- Published on Friday, 02 September 2011 04:58
- Written by Admin
- Hits: 688
THERE was panic at the Lagos State Government Secretariat, Alausa, on Thursday, following the rumour of a bomb blast by the Boko Haram sect in the area.
The development also resulted in heavy human and vehicular traffic within the secretariat as workers and visitors hurried to flee the scene.
Nigerian Tribune observed that the government had since put stringent security measures in place at the secretariat since five months ago.
Before the April general election, the government introduced new policy to regulate the closing and opening of the main secretariat gate. The gate is now locked at 7.00 p.m. unlike before when it was left open for 24 hours.
Also, no visitor is allowed into the secretariat on weekends, as the main gate is permanently closed while workers on special duty are requested to show their staff identity card to enter the premises.
However, the arrangement to allow workers and visitors to pass through the deputy governor’s office was broken on Thursday, as the gate remained shut to prevent any terrorist attack.
According to the police officer, who spoke to Nigerian Tribune at the deputy governor’s gate, the closure was an instruction by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Yakubu Alikali.
The police officer said no vehicle would be allowed to pass through the gate until he received a new order from the state police command.
Commenting on the matter, a member of staff of the state government, who refused to mention his name, said that the closure could cause more havoc, adding that it had resulted in serious traffic around the secretariat.
He said: “With the traffic now, more people are concentrated at the other gates to get out of the secretariat. This is more dangerous. I think the police should find a better way to address this instead of closing one of the prominent exits.”
Meanwhile, the downpour in the metropolis caused serious flooding in Ikeja area of the state, leading to heavy traffic.
Most commutters were stranded due to the traffic, which lasted for about one hour on the popular Obafemi Awolowo Way and the adjacent routes.
Many members of staff of Lagos civil service could not leave their offices at the closing hour due to the heavy traffic and the continuous rain in the area.
Tight security around govt office, Abuja
Meanwhile, as work resumed nationwide on Thursday after the Eid ul-Fitr celebration, security has remained tight around some government buildings in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reported that there was heavy presence of security operatives in and around the building at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja.
At the office of the Head of Service of the Federation, different security operatives mounted heavy security check at all entry and exit points of the complex.
The security operatives comprising the Nigeria Police Force, the State Security Service, Civil Defence Corps and the Nigerian Army were seen patrolling the premises.
Staff and visitors were subjected to a thorough search before being allowed into the premises.
NAN reported that bags were searched with metal detectors, while those without valid identity cards were denied entry.
At the Federal Secretariat, vehicles were not allowed to park in front of the office block and around the Eagle Square, while the road leading to the main building was cordoned off by the police with their patrol vans mounted at both ends.
NAN reported that to further enforce the measure, men of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) were on the ground with a towing van, apparently to tow any defaulting vehicle.
Some of the staff members, who spoke to NAN, said the measure was necessary to forestall any possible attack on the area.
FG apologises to UN over lapses
The Federal Government, on Thursday, apologised to the UN for any lapses on its part that may have been associated with the bombing of the UN headquarters in Abuja.
The government, in offering the apology, pledged that addressing the issues associated with the bombing was not something that would be forgotten in a week or two, but that it would stay on the matter until all issues were resolved and the UN premises was reconstructed in such as manner that was safe and secure.
Speaking when the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) played host to some UN team, led by Resident Coordinator, Mr Daoudu Toure, the Minister of State for the FCT, Chief Jumoke Akinjide, noted that reconstruction of the bombed UN house would take into account threat of terrorism, which, she noted, was not on the horizon when the ripped-off building was built previously.
“Please forgive us for any lapses that might occur. It is not because we don’t value you. This is not something that we are going to address today and forget in a week or two,” she said.
We are yet to be informed of arrest of suspects —UN
Despite claims by security agencies that suspects in last weekend’s bombing of the UN House in Abuja have been arrested, the UN, on Thursday, disclosed that it was yet to be informed of any arrest of any sort or briefed on the identity of those who have been arrested.
Mr Toure told a news conference in Abuja that the world body looked forward to what he described as international justice that would make the victims not to have died in vain.
“This is the second time that I am hearing about finding those culprits that are behind this attack. Officially, let me tell you that the UN has not been informed of any arrest of any sort, nor the identity of those who have been arrested. Therefore, you will understand that I cannot comment on that question.
“We do look forward to being informed if there are arrests. Indeed, we demand that there is no impunity; that the lives of those innocent people is not left to just die.
“This is something that we demand; it is international justice, that’s what we are talking about, but I am not yet aware and I don’t know that any of my colleagues has been informed about arrest that has happened or given names of those who have been arrested,” he added.
He called on stakeholders in the country to work on conflict resolution systems, in order to make sure that conflicts did not become violent.
FG orders report on Boko Haram sponsors
PRESIDENT Jonathan was said to have ordered the submission of full reports on all alleged sponsors of the political Boko Haram.
The submission of the full report, it was gathered, became imperative, in view of the security reports at the disposal of the president.
A deft move targetted at unseating at least two top security chiefs in the current administration has unfolded, following reports that some security challenges of recent times had multiple dimensions.
Reports at the disposal of the Nigerian Tribune indicated that the political Boko Haram uncovered by the government lately had a further agenda of forcing the hand of President Jonathan to effect some changes at the top echelons of security.
A source said some sponsors of the political Boko Haram were aware that the government had unfolded a global review of its security aparatus after the October 1 bomb blast in Abuja and that the current security chiefs were key to the programme.
A source said the agenda of the political Boko Haram sponsors included embarrassing the government, painting a situation whereby the president was seen as clueless on the security situation and causing the public to turn against the administration, as a result of fear of insecurity.
It was also gathered that the political Boko Haram sponsors planned to give the government a bad image among the international community, leading to the blast at the UN House in Abuja.
But besides giving a full pucture of the developments to the international community and the international intelligence circles, sources said the administration had also ordered a close watch of the masterminds, who were seen as playing politics with the lives of Nigerians and foreigners alike.
It was gathered that part of the plot was also to get the president angry to the extent that he would boot out the likes of the National Security Adviser (NSA), General Owoye Azazi; the Inspector General of Police, Mr Hafiz Ringim and the Director-General of the State Security Services (SSS), Mr Ita Ekpeyong. (Tribune)