Bandits, late on Wednesday, invaded Kwankwashe community, in Suleja, Niger State, just 30 minutes’ drive from Abuja, killing two people, thus fueling growing fears of possible attack in Abuja.
The Acting Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, on Firday swiftly assured residents of Abuja, Plateau State and other contiguous states of their safety and security as they go about their lawful duties, but he failed to speak on the attack in Suleja.
Recall that an intelligence alert last Wednesday, contained in a leaked memo by the IG to the FCT Commissioner of Police and his Plateau State counterpart, informing them of a plot by terrorists to attack Abuja and Jos, the Plateau State capital, resulted in palpable panic among residents of Abuja.
The bandits, apart from killing two people in the Kwankwashe attack, also reportedly broke into different houses in the community and abducted an unspecified number of residents, including children.
The abductors are yet to contact the families of the abductees but the matter has been reported to security agencies in Niger State.
The statement issued Friday by Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said IG’s assurance of safety to residents of Abuja and Jos “is coming on the heels of the unintended, viral spread of an internal directive issued to the commissioners of Police in Plateau State and FCT Commands to forestall any likelihood of attack or breach of security by organised criminal elements in their Areas of Responsibilities (AOR).”
The Force Headquarters added: “The IG’s directive, which is a deliberate, intelligence-driven and proactive measure, is designed to prepare the law enforcement community for comprehensive response to any threat to lives and property.”
The police chief noted that the “security alert, rather than becoming a source of panic to the citizens, should instead send a message of re-assurance to them about the intelligence depth, capacity and operational preparedness of the Nigeria Police to preemptively deal and contain any threat to public peace and security.
“The alert does not in any way suggest that an attack is imminent in any of the two states.
“The police high command therefore called for calm, urging citizens to go about their normal activities with renewed sense of vigour, patriotism and vigilance as the police continue to work with other relevant stakeholders to keep the public space safe.”
The leaked memo from the IG on possible attacks in Abuja and Jos reads: “Intelligence report at the disposal of the Inspector-General of Police has uncovered plans by Boko Haram terrorists to attack major cities in the country, particularly Jos, Plateau State and the FCT, Abuja.
“The proposed attacks would be coordinated by the duo of Muhammad Sani, a Boko Haram Commander, domiciled in Sambisa Forest and his Deputy, Suleiman, hibernating around Lawan Musa Zango, Gashua, Yobe State.
“In light of the above, it is the directive of the Inspector-General of Police that you review your security architecture across all critical government infrastructure and police facilities in your jurisdiction with a view to checkmating the dastardly plans of these marauding terrorists.”