• Monday, April 22, 2024
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Terrorist scare in Lagos: Time to act fast


Recently, residents of Lagos State were greeted with the news of an arrest by joint operatives from the Department of State Security Service (DSS) and Operation Mesa (OP Mesa) of a Chadian in Badiya, Ijora area of Lagos State with bombs and two AK-47 rifles.

Another version of the story said two suspected members of Boko Haram were arrested. This development has heightened the possibility of invasion of the ‘City of Excellence’ by some members of Al-Qaeda. It may not be wished away, but can be checked by a calculated plan by relevant security establishments.

The arrested suspects, it was alleged, planned a “simultaneous bombing of 16 landmarks including public utilities that would have exacted maximum casualties to the city.”

According to reports, the second time in one month, security agents have foiled terrorist plots to bomb some targets in the commercial hub of the country.

Intelligence reports strongly revealed that there are plans by some faceless elements to attack Lagos.

A female journalist was a few weeks ago kidnapped in Akure, Ondo State, and was taken to the Niger Delta. She was only released after a ran som of N1 million was paid. What that showed is that insecurity is taking a frightening dimension and it is inching fast toward the South West that has been relatively calm.

Moreover, the confirmation by the United States Consulate General of the recent abduction of an expatriate on Victoria Island, Lagos, has also indicated that there is an increasing tempo of insecurity in the state.

Lagos, and indeed the rest of Nigeria, can ill afford any attack of the kind that goes on in the North. Reasons are obvious. While the casualty figure would be monumental, reprisals would be more detrimental. And the nation’s economy would be terribly affected.

Lagos hosts the largest and vibrant air and seaports. It is the first point of call of many university graduates in search of white collar jobs. And it is one state in Nigeria that accommodates natives of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Any violent attack by any terrorist group in any part of Lagos will affect every state of the country. It may also trigger unrestrained reprisals from the O’odua People’s Congress (OPC), a pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, which has been in the shell for many years. It would obviously remove the “safe haven” status that Lagos has assumed over the years.

Such an attack may also have untold psychological and religious implications. There would be a mass exodus from the city, akin to the 1993 experience following the June 12 annulment of the presidential election by the military junta under Ibrahim Babangida.

Whether it is for real or mere speculation that there have been plans by some criminals to attack Lagos, there is the need for all hands to be on deck to nip the ugly development in the bud.

This is indeed a wakeup call on all the relevant security agents and the state government that it’s high time to up the ante of intelligence gathering and effective policing.

At this point, there is the need for Lagos State government and the Federal Government, in collaboration with international bodies, in the training of police in modern intelligence gathering methods.

In addition to the steps so far taken by the highest echelon of the Nigeria police as recently disclosed by Frank Mba, spokesman of the force, the state should step up efforts in the CCTV project in black spots, and any other method that can check the replication of bloody campaign and reduction of human lives to a piece of bread as is daily being witnessed in parts of the North.