Nigerian police step-up their patrols as tensions mount inside the country. An escalation of violence has erupted in various regions of the oil-rich state., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Nigeria puts security on red alert
By Jide Babalola, Asst. Editor and Sanni Ologun, Abuja
FOR fear of reprisal attacks on facilities belonging to the United States (US) in the country, over the killing of Osama bin Laden, the Federal Government yesterday reinforced security at the US Embassy.
Osama, the leader of a terrorist network – al Qaeda, was killed in the early hours of yesterday by US Forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Hafiz Ringim, who gave the government directive said the measure was to forestall attacks on US interests in Nigeria.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Olusola Amore told The Nation in a telephone chat in Abuja that his boss has ordered the Commissioners of Police (CPs) across the country “especially those in the northern part of the country” to be on the red alert.
While maintaining that the Force did not expecting any negative reaction from the country since the death of Osama has nothing to do with Nigeria, Amore said the security red alert was meant to “put down any backlash as a result of the death.”
He said: “We have not only strengthened security at the US Embassy, all the Commissioners of Police in the country especially in the northern part of the country have been asked to be on the red alert as a result of the death of Osama Bin Laden, to be able to put down the backlash as a result of the new development.
“Although, we are not expecting that Nigerians would react to it because it is a thing that does not concern the country, the Commissioners of Police have been asked to be on the red alert and as I talk to you they are all aware that the IGP has directed them to be at alert if there is any reaction as a result of the death of Osama Bin Laden.”
On whether there has been any threat to security from any part of the country so far as a result of the death, the Force spokesman said: “As I talk to you now we have not received any report of any threat. Our intelligence gathering team has been all around and particularly we would pay particular attention especially on Fridays and Sundays and ensure that there is no protest of any sort. During the Jumat prayers, we will just ensure that we monitor areas of worship to prevent any breach of the peace.”
Meanwhile, Nigeria joined the global community to celebrate the death of the al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has put all Nigerian embassies on full security alert.
Speaking with The Nation in Abuja, the ministry’s spokesman, Mr Damian Agwu acknowledged that US covert operation that ended the life of Osama deserves the international applause that erupted immediately afterwards.
“It is a monumental achievement in the war against international terrorism,” said Agwu, who also noted that while the challenges remain, some anxieties have been laid to rest.
“Secondly, the world is better without him, in terms of global security. The world must not relax; we must all remain vigilant.”
Responding to an inquiry on the likelihood of scaling up security arrangements at Nigerian embassies abroad, he stated that eternal vigilance and consistent precautionary measures have always been part of the ministry’s routine arrangements.
“That has always been part of our foreign policy. We have always remained vigilant abroad. Besides, this moment calls for intensified vigilance,” he added.