By Uduma Kalu, John Bulus and Miti Ikpen
Suspected explosive devices and a bag of fertilizer found in a house in Gombe metropolis on Thursday (5/4/12). Some suspects were arrested.
Security agencies in Northern Nigeria have stepped up security following alerts by the United States and United Kingdom embassies that the country may witness terrorist attacks this Easter.
The Niger Police Command has therefore deployed additional 1,000 policemen from its headquarters in Minna to beef up security at some flashpoints in Suleja Local Government Area of the state.
Mrs Deseye Nsirim, the state Commissioner of Police, made this known to newsmen yesterday in Minna shortly after her familiarisation tour of area commands in Suleja, Tarfa and Agwara Local Government Areas of the state.
She assured residents of the state that adequate security would be provided for Christian and Muslim faithfuls throughout the Easter celebrations to avoid any breach of peace.
In Kano, the Joint Military Task Force, JTF, has declared that security forces are on top of situation in the city stressing there would be no cause for alarm during and after the Easter celebrations in the state and its environs.
JTF spokesman, Lt Ikediche Iweha told Saturday Vanguard in an interview yesterday that the security outfit had made tremendous progress in its war against terror in the city, pointing out that strategy had been adopted to sustain the tempo.
“We have made serious in-road in our quest to contain terrorists and their extremist tendencies in Kano; and we have every reason to beat our chests that we are on top of the situation,” Iweha said, pointing out that, Kano like any other part of this country needed peace to realize its potential.
According to him, the JTF was doing its ‘’best to ensure we put paid to the menace of extremism for good.”
He then asked the residents to remain law abiding in the course of their daily activities as according to him, their support and cooperation were vital to the overall success of the war against the menace.
The Joint Task Force in Maiduguri, Borno state also said it killed two members of militant Islamist sect Boko Haram and arrested a third yesterday during a raid on their hideout where the suspects were plotting attacks on Christians this weekend. Security had been ramped up in Maiduguri, the epicenter of Boko Haram’s attacks. On Friday, a helicopter patrolled the city from the sky and authorities searched private vehicles at checkpoints.
Reverend Faye Pama said local Christians are celebrating this year’s Easter in “a low’’ mood.
“Of course you know the killings have been on and many lives have been lost. You know even the day before yesterday,There were the killings in the market. So, we are celebrating low-key,” he said.
Gunmen opened fire on Christian traders at a busy market in Maiduguri Wednesday, killing 11 people and wounding several others. Just before the attack, gunmen shot dead an electronics technician on a popular city street. Witnesses told the Voice of America, VOA, that nine of the dead were Christians from the Igbo ethnic group.
Also, no fewer than 10 persons have so far been killed at Duduguru village in Jenkwe Development Area of Nasarawa State follwing an invasion by some people suspected to be Fulani herdsmen. The crises was said to have started on Tuesday when the invaders killed two people. The Police in Nasarawa yesterday confirmed the death of the 10 persons just as the discovery of the 60 explosives in Gombe has created fear in the state.
Suspects arrested by operatives of the State Security Services (SSS) in Gombe metropolis on Thursday.
Last Thursday, another Boko Haram bomb factory was discovered in Kogi state in the Adavi Local Government Area, the Nigerian army has confirmed.
The bomb making factory is the third to be uncovered in the central state in the last two weeks. Items recovered from the hideout include security metal detectors, bullet proof vests, gas cylinder, already made bombs and ammunition.
The Acting Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, had Thursday directed zonal and state commands of the police across the country to provide adequate security to all places of worship during the period.
Abubakar, in his Easter message to Christians signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, Olusola Amore, late Thursday in Abuja, ordered police Area Commanders and their Divisional Officers to ensure effective patrols of all vulnerable points in various cities and highways across the country during and after the Easter festivities.
However, the United States and UK embassies in their travel advisories warned their citizens against travelling to some northern cities to be extra vigilant around places of worship and avoid large crowds.
”The Embassy advises all U.S. citizens in Abuja and other large northern Nigerian cities to remain vigilant around churches and other places of worship, locations where large crowds may gather and areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers during the weekend holiday.
The embassy continues to monitor closely the ongoing threats posed by Nigerian extremist and criminal groups,” it said. The U.K. embassy in particular, listed seven states including Borno, Niger, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Yobe as the areas that its citizens must avoid, noting that “there is a high threat of terrorist attack during religious festivals.”