Days after suspected terrorists were said to have been targeting to bomb some critical areas in Lagos were rounded up, security agencies are devising measures and working round-the-clock to nip possible insurgence of Boko Haram Islamic sect in the bud, BusinessDay checks have shown.
One of the strategies being considered by the security agencies especially the police command is stop-and-search which may see policemen embarking on random search of persons and bags in motor parks, roads, public places and around schools.
Already, security has been beefed up in and around police stations and military barracks in Lagos, with military personnel seen in frantic search of civilian population entering their barracks in an apparent effort to ensuring that civil society, including persons living within the barracks do not gain unfettered access as may have been the case before now.
As a result, civilians are stopped at the gates where they are searched and requested to explain their mission to the barracks. At the Nigerian Army Cantonment, Ojo, soldiers have put barricade at the entrance to disallow free ride into their barracks. Unfamiliar motorists are stopped and their cars scrutinised before being allowed entry. Ditto has been observed at other formations including the Ikeja Cantonment and the Air Force base, also in Ikeja.
A police source told BusinessDay on Monday that Operation Mesa (OP Mesa) comprising soldiers and policemen as well as Rapid Response Squad (RRS), the Lagos police command anti-robbery outfit have received specific instructions to intensify patrols and burst any suspected hideouts that can possibly harbour criminal elements that could be used to unleash terror on the commercial city.
A source within state government also informed our correspondent that government is also pondering on taking over and possible demolition of abandoned buildings especially those without government’s approval, as part of the measures to keep Lagos safe. The state government, BusinessDay gathered, is also intensifying talks with religious and ethnic leaders in the state to ensure co-existence of the various religions and diverse Nigerian tribes.
“In Lagos, the government meets with religious leaders and ethnic leaders regularly but this is to be further intensified to ensure the peace the state is enjoying is maintained,” an official of Lagos State told BusinessDay.
In northern Nigerian states, several hundreds of Nigerians and foreign nationals have been killed since the Boko Haram insurgence in 2011, leaving businesses and the economies of states such as Borno, Kano, Kaduna in near ruins.
Last Thursday, a combined team of OP Mesa and State Security Service (SSS) acting on a tip-off, stormed the Ijora/Badia area of Lagos where they swooped on suspected terrorists and seized explosive materials believed to have been planted by the suspects to bomb petroleum tank farms around the area. The operational vehicles arranged to transport the bombs to their designated places were among other items recovered during the raid.
Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city and economic hub, holds key to the nation’s stability as it hosts families from all other states of the federation. The state remains lead contributor to Nigeria’s non-oil sector with 62 percent attainment which is equal to the contributions of 12 other states. Also playing host to the nation’s most patronised international airport and seaports, Lagos alone accounts for over 70 percent of national industrial investments with its GDP puts at N12.091 trillion in 2010, which makes it critical to Nigeria’s economic stability.