IG, FCT Minister Ramp UP Security in Abuja Over Terror Threat

•Launches counterterrorism operations, simulation exercise

•Instructs FCT CP to rejig strategy, puts 36 states on standby

Kingsley Nwezeh and Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, has ordered the increase of security activities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as part of new efforts to secure the nation’s capital and contain threats of any nature.

In line with the new measures, the IGP, yesterday, announced the commencement of a counterterrorism operation and simulation exercise codenamed, “Operation Darkin Gaggawa”.

Baba further instructed the police command in Abuja to rearrange its security strategy in anticipation of the worst, even as he put Commissioners of Police (CPs) across the states of the federation on standby.

The extra-security measures followed recent alerts by some foreign missions in Nigeria about possible terror attacks.

Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Bello, also held an emergency security meeting yesterday over the warning by the US embassy and others to their citizens about likely terrorist attacks in Abuja.

A statement issued in Abuja by the Force Headquarters, signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Olumuyiwa Adejobi, stated that the operation was in furtherance of the determination of the police authorities to contain the activities of non-state actors and other criminal elements in the FCT and other parts of the country. It said the new security measures were, especially, following a security alert issued by the embassies of the United States and the United Kingdom about a potential terror attack in the nation’s capital.

The police said the move was designed to analyse and de-escalate threats gathered from various intelligence sources, including the US advisory.

The police statement said, “The IGP has announced the immediate commencement of a Counterterrorism Incident Simulation Exercise, codenamed ‘Operation Darkin Gaggawa’, which will hold within the Force Headquarters and the Police Officers’ Wives Association School, opposite the Force Headquarters, Abuja, between Tuesday, 25th and Wednesday, 26th October, 2022.

“The exercise will involve diversion of traffic, use of blank ammunition, and other operational manpower and assets and is designed to improve interoperability and synergy between different units and formations of the force in response to terrorist incidents and other violent crimes.

“The NPF, thereby, urges the general public not to panic at the sounds of explosives and gunshots during the exercise.

“The Nigeria Police Force, hereby, reassures Nigerians and all other residents and visitors in the country that it will effectively review the United States of America Embassy in Abuja’s security advisory, which was issued, widely circulated, and published by the media on October 23rd, 2022, indicating an elevated risk of terror attacks in the country, particularly, in the capital city of Abuja.”

The statement further said, “A review of the advisory is necessary due to the fact that police, as the lead agency in internal security, will not take any threat intelligence, either actionable or not, for granted, thus, there is no cause for alarm as all hands are on deck to collectively nip threats in the bud.”

The statement reiterated that the IGP had ordered the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Federal Capital Territory, heads of tactical squads domiciled in the FCT, and other State Command CPs to restrategise security management within their jurisdictions, as the force headquarters would continually avail them with required support, logistics, and deployments necessary for providing safety to all and sundry in Nigeria.

The statement noted that the police would work with other security agencies to ensure safety of the citizenry, especially, in FCT.

“The Inspector-General of Police, therefore, reiterates the commitment of his administration to ensuring safety of lives and property within the country through the effective deployment of tactical and operational assets for effective intelligence gathering and proactive policing. He further reassures Nigerians of a safe and secured country for all,” the police stated.

Meanwhile, the FCT minister, in a statement by the Director, Information and Communication, Mohammed Hazat Sule, said yesterday’s security meeting exhaustively discussed the proactive measures taken to sustain the current state of security in the capital city and prevent any breach.

Sule said at the meeting, the minister charged security agencies to do all within their powers to protect FCT residents from being harmed by criminals and other unscrupulous elements, and urged FCT residents to remain calm as the security agencies were working assiduously to sustain the state of law in Abuja.

While assuring FCT residents that all necessary arrangements had been made to safeguard lives and property, the statement said residents and visitors to Abuja should go about their legitimate businesses, as all the security agencies had been fully mobilised to check any form of intrusion into the FCT.

The FCT administration said it had not ordered the closure of any school, and directed the schools that had closed to reopen forthwith. It appealed to residents to cooperate at all times with the security agencies by volunteering useful and timely information that would assist in nipping any form of criminality in the bud.

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