Security agencies are working on fresh information pointing that Boko Haram leaders may have fled Mali back to Nigeria. They have placed key operational bases such as Potiskum, Kano, Bama, Damaturu and Maiduguri under watch as these are the likely places the leaders may hide.
A top source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “We are expecting that the ceasefire by a faction of Boko Haram might be a consequence of the devastating effects of France and the UN Intervention Mission forces in Mali.
“There are intelligence reports indicating that some key leaders of the sect have retreated to Nigeria from Mali. That is why we have placed some of their operational bases under watch, despite the ceasefire. These bases are in Kano, Bama, Potiskum, Damaturu and Maiduguri, among other border towns.”
The source added: “The government is cautious on the declaration of ceasefire because it might be a ploy by the retreating Boko Haram leaders to regain the control of lost bases and unleash more devastating mayhem on the country.
“We cannot afford to take things for granted or be carried away by the proclamation of a ceasefire. The Chief of Defence Staff, Vice-Admiral Ibrhim Ola Sa’ad, has asked Boko Haram leaders to prove their commitment to the ceasefire within 30 days.”
Another source said that in spite of the ceasefire, security agencies are under orders to mount water-tight security in volatile states in the Northeast and Northwest.
“So, we will increase the tempo of the present security arrangement in terror-prone states. The recent change of GOCs and top military commanders of some the Army, the Air Force and the Navy is part of plans to step up security nationwide,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) has said that the government was engaged in a war against terrorism in order to safeguard the democratic values of the nation from being eroded.
He made this statement while speaking at a two-day peace and security summit of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Abuja, saying the government cannot handover victory to terrorists.
“There is no doubt that challenges to internal security can erode democratic gains and indeed our mutual co-existence as a pluralistic society.
“The wanton and indiscriminate deprivation of innocent lives and the infliction of harm on countless others by the wave of attacks carried out by the terrorist group, known as Boko Haram coupled with the spate of kidnappings in the country must be seen as direct attacks on the core values of democratic governance, namely the rule of law; the protection of the dignity of human beings; mutual respect among people of different faith and peaceful resolution of conflict.
He said even though there were differing views on how to fight the terrorism scourge and as to the measure of success recorded so far, the government is also mindful of the fact that eroding democratic values in the process would be handing the terrorists a victory.
“As a democrat, I firmly believe in the sustainable approach we have adopted in the current challenges. Our strategy aims to: protect individuals and communities; stabilise existing conflicts and discontentment; counter- harmful and extremist sentiments and ideologies; and deploy adequate response to economic and social insecurities that contribute to the growth of terrorism.
“Notwithstanding the initiatives already enumerated, the Federal Government is always open to constructive ideas on how best to confront these challenges.”