The Department of State Security (DSS) has arrested and formally charged 45 suspects over an alleged Boko Haram plot to attack Lagos.
This is just as the Lagos State Government has urged citizens in the state to remain calm but very vigilant as the Police and other security agencies intensify their efforts to rid the state of hoodlums, armed robbers and suspected terrorists.
“About 60 suspects were picked up from different locations in Lagos by the Department of State Services acting on intelligence information they were planning to attack Dolphin Estate in Ikoyi last month,” said one source, referring to an upscale area of Lagos.
Both sources, who asked not to be identified for security reasons, said some of the suspects were released after preliminary investigations, while 45 others were taken to a magistrate court on Friday.
“They were arraigned on holding charges. The DSS urged the court to remand them in prison pending further investigation and their eventual arraignment before a high court,” said a source.
Dolphin Estate is a gated community on the Ikoyi, which is home to wealthy Nigerians as well as expatriate workers, many of them in the oil and gas industry.
This is not the first time the DSS has foiled attempts by Boko Haram to attack lagos. Any attack on Lagos, which drives Nigeria’s economy and is seen by many foreign governments as a gateway to West Africa, would likely send shockwaves through both.
The capital, Abuja, has been hit several times, most recently on October 2 when three suicide bombers killed 18 in two satellite towns – while Lagos was attacked last June.
The car bombing, near fuel depots and the city’s main port, killed at least four and although denied by the authorities, was claimed by Boko Haram’s shadowy leader, Abubakar Shekau.
In one propaganda video, Shekau threatened to hit Nigeria’s oil-producing south.
Security analysts said at the time the Lagos bombing was likely to have been carried out by a small group of Boko Haram sympathisers, with no direct link to the group’s high command.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in May on a promise of crushing Boko Haram, has given his military commanders until the end of the year to bring the insurgency to a close.
Speaking against the background of the arrest by the Department of State Services of 45 suspected Boko Haram members who allegedly planned to attack Dolphin Estate in Ikoyi, the In a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, the state government vowed not to relent in its constitutional duty to ensure safety of lives and property throughout the length and breadth of the state.
Meanwhile, in a statement through its commissioner for Informer, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, the state governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, said the current reality is that times have changed and the need to urge every citizen to be more security conscious is now paramount.
“Due to the economic hardship being experienced all over the country with many states and private business owners battling with payments of salaries and wages, Lagos State has become the prime destination for several thousands of people who now throng the daily with no plan to return, because they believe this is the state where economic succor is available”, Ayorinde said.
The statement said not only is this internal exodus into Lagos putting an unprecedented pressure on road infrastructure and traffic management as well as a burden on housing and hospitals all across the state, it has also constituted security threat which now requires every citizen to be extra vigilant.
“Our appeal goes to every school, housing estates, religious houses, markets and shopping complexes, hotels and restaurants and sporting arenas to take issues of security and personal safety more serious these days and to work with both the government and security agencies in promptly reporting any persons with suspicious activities or unusual gatherings that may compromise security. Care must also be taken in how domestic servants and house aides are also employed.”
The statement reiterated Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s directive to rid the state of hoodlums and miscreants operating from uncompleted and abandoned houses, urging owners of such properties to complete or secure them or have the Law to contend with.
It added that Lagos State government sympathizes with victims of robberies and violent crimes, while promising that the government would continue to fund the state security apparatus and do everything within its power to arrest the unwholesome situation.