•Joint security task force intensifies patrols
•FCT not under attack, say police
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Security forces have uncovered a plot by insurgents to infiltrate the nation’s capital, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), using tinted vehicles and covered plate numbers, THISDAY has learnt.
It was gathered that the joint security task force, comprising the military, police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and intelligence agencies, however, has intensified patrols and surveillance in and around Abuja.
Investigation also revealed that the meetings of the joint security task force under the office of the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, continued at the weekend.
However, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command has debunked reports that the nation’s capital was under terror attack.
A statement by the command said while security forces sustained pre-emptive measures against any eventuality, the reported attack on FCT was a clash of cultists in Mpape, an outskirt of Abuja and not an attack by terrorists.
THISDAY, however, gathered that security agents uncovered an unusual number of unauthorised tinted vehicles with covered plate numbers within the city centre.
There are certain categories of political officeholders and security chiefs allowed to use tinted vehicles and covered plate numbers.
Permits are also granted to some citizens after an application is granted.
A security source told THISDAY that “such applications are no longer granted in view of the security situation.”
With the rising number of vehicles with tinted glasses, concerns were raised that the insurgents were conducting a test run preparatory to an attack.
A security source told THISDAY that the strategy was a familiar one applied during the bombing of the United Nations office and the Force Headquarters in Abuja by Boko Haram some years ago.
“It is a familiar pattern. We are working on it”, he said.
The FCT Police Command had last week launched an operation against the use of unauthorised covered number plates and tinted vehicles.
It said the operation had become “extremely necessary due to the recent security threat analysis conducted by the joint (security) team reveals that criminal syndicates now execute their nefarious activities using tinted vehicles with covered number plates.”
The command warned those using unauthorised covered number plates and tinted vehicles within the FCT to desist as violators would be arrested and prosecuted.
Meanwhile, the Federal Capital Territory Police Command at the weekend debunked reports that the seat of power was under attack.
It said a cult clash in Mpape, an outskirt of Abuja, was misconstrued as an attack by terrorists.
It said in the statement by its spokesperson, Mariam Yusuf, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, that there was no such attack on FCT.
It said heads of security agencies had reassured residents of their safety.
“The attention of the FCT Joint Security Team has been drawn to a viral publication in social media purporting that the ‘Federal Capital Territory is under attack by Boko Haram Terrorists.
“The Joint Security Team of the FCT wishes to refute the mischievous publication targeted at creating palpable tension amongst the well-spirited residents of the FCT,” it added.
The command said “contrary to the speculation, the Heads of Security Agencies (HOSA) in the Federal Capital Territory in the bid to address security concerns within the FCT, held a strategic meeting on Thursday, April 29, 2021, where the team resolved to deploy alternative proactive crime-fighting measures within the FCT particularly in areas with challenging terrain, including aggressive motorised/foot patrols.
“However, the patrols will be conducted in line with the peculiarities of every terrain within the territory. In other words, the team has adopted the use of motorcycles, horses and other technical means of gathering intelligence to checkmate criminality within the Federal Capital Territory,” it stated.