From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government has expressed concern over the ability of Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) operating in Borno State to fire rockets targeting areas in Maiduguri, the state capital.
Multiple explosions rocked Maiduguri Thursday with rockets landing on many houses around Ngomari, Bulumkutu and Ayafe near the airport, hours before the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to the state.
This led to massive deployment of troops to battle ISWAP elements and to foil the attack by the terrorists.
Fielding questions at the end of the Security Council meeting presided over by President Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, the Inspector General of Police Usman Baba, said the ability of the terrorists to land rockets was worrisome.
He added that the terrorists were however unable to achieve their objectives with the rocket launch.
The IGP said: “They are launching it in major towns, they are launching it in Maiduguri. It is a concern. And it has been seriously checkmated. There are efforts to continuously checkmate it.
“What did what they did on Thursday, but to a large extent, they have not achieved what they intended to achieve because of the situation the security agencies, particularly the military put in place,” he said.
On whether the security agencies have been able to determine the origins of the rockets, Baba responded: “Yes, it had been done before and even after. Some of those who must have planned and thrown those rockets have been taken out,” he stated.
The police boss assured that the security agencies are trying to improve on what they are already doing “to ensure there is peace, law and order during the Yuletide period and beyond.”
He reiterated President Buhari’s marching orders to security agencies, which he said are always the same.
Baba said: “The marching orders are always the same, you have even told Nigerians the marching orders of the President. It has always been the same. There is no space, there is no tolerance to any threat to security. There is no sparing of any terrorists and there must be an intelligence gathering, there must be proactive prevention of crime and there must be checkmating of all those that are involved in criminal activities, whether it be terrorism, banditry or armed robbery or whatever and that is what we are trying to do to the best of our knowledge and ability.”
Responding to why there were high presence of security personnel in the South-East, he explained that the deployment of agents to certain areas depends of the nature society.
Baba said: “Where there are more people you have problem of policing than where you don’t have. What we have in some of the states is big landmass without actually having too many people.
“In some spaces we have too many people in a small place. That means there is human interaction and you need to have policing there much more than what you have where you don’t have that number of population.”
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who led the briefing on the security meeting outcome assured that there was no threat to safety and security in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Asked to respond to the leaked memo by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) alerting on impending terrorist attack in the federal capital, he said council had mandated the members of council to assure Nigerians that there was no cause for alarm.
“The message of the Security Council, through you to Nigerians, is that all measures for the safety and security of the Nigerian people and Nigeria, are in place for a successful and happy celebration of the yuletide and the New Year,” he stated.