In the aftermath of the smashing of a terror cell on Thursday in the Ijora area of Lagos, intelligence agents have spread all over the South-West in search of terrorists said to be in as many as 20 locations of the geo-political zone.
Multiple security sources in Abuja and Lagos told our correspondents on Friday that intelligence agents had been deployed in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti states to locate the terror cells.
Soldiers had stormed two houses on a street in Ijora, Lagos on Thursday in search of a terror cell. Bombs and AK-47 rifles were found and five suspects arrested, who have since been transferred to Abuja.
A top security source said on Friday that the operation had become necessary following intelligence reports and Thursday’s raid on hideouts in Ijora.
He said, “What happened in Lagos was a tip of the iceberg. There are at least 20 other terror cells in locations across the South-West, particularly Lagos and Ogun states.
“Agents have been sent to areas suspected to be harbouring them, especially communities where there is an aggregation of aliens.”
It was also gathered that the Defence Headquarters is under orders from the Federal Government to give priority to all calls and information from the Department of State Security in this regard.
Similarly, a top source in the State Security Service said that following constant raids on their hideouts in Borno, Yobe and other states in the core North by the Joint Task Force, the terrorists had begun moving to the South.
“In the last one year, many terrorists have been going southward because of the heat on them by the JTF in the North.
“The operation in Lagos was between the SSS and the Army. The Federal Government has instructed the soldiers to give our men a prompt response at all time, whenever we need them. More of such collaborative efforts will be seen in the coming weeks,” he said.
In Ondo State, police authorities confirmed that certain communities were being watched closely.
The Public Relations Officer of the state command, Mr. Wole Ogodo, said, “The discovery of bombs and members of the Boko Haram sect in Lagos is disturbing and worrisome. Our intelligence officers and those in the information management technology department are now all over the state. Apart from Hausa-dominated areas, we are also in crime-prone areas just to ensure that we don’t leave anything to chance”
In Ogun State, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Muyiwa Adejobi said asides from the plainclothes policemen and operatives of the SSS carrying out covet operations, students were being asked to give information on suspicious movements and activities in the state.
“It will affect everybody if we allow some strangers to come and destroy us in Ogun State. We are focusing on all ethnic groups in the state. Boko Haram is not limited to the Hausa people alone. It is all-encompassing. So, we are not limiting our focus to the Hausa community alone.
“But the plainclothes men are working hand-in-hand with the SSS to make sure we have robust intelligence gathering which will help us in taking any decision we want to take.
“We had a meeting today (Friday) with security agencies, including the vigilance services. We are incorporating everybody, including members of the public. We have a body now called Police Students’ Forum. We are even using the students to see what we can do. We are doing what we call multi-track diplomacy. It’s our own strategy. It’s left for us for full implementation and not for your consumption,” he said.
In Oyo, a source at the State Security Service who declined being named, confirmed that more surveillance had been mounted in specific communities.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police,Oyo State Command, Mr. Clement Adoda, who spoke on behalf of the CP, was hesitant to talk about the operation to smoke out terrorists in the state.
“We have our strategies on the ground both within the towns and along the highways. We are ensuring that criminals don’t infiltrate Oyo,” he said.
It was further learnt that intelligence agents in Ekiti have increased surveillance in some communities in Ado Ekiti and Ikere.
A security source, who refused to name the communities, said the action was taken because of the “peculiarity of those areas.”
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up in Kaduna metropolis and environs to forestall reprisals following last Monday’s attack on Lagos-bound luxury buses at the Sabon Gari area of Kano which left over 80 people dead and injured several others.
Since the Kano attack, there has been heavy presence of security operatives stationed at strategic locations, particularly around mosques where Muslims observe the Friday Juma’at prayers.
At the Ungwan-Sarki, Rabah, Kawo areas, the state security outfit, Operation Yaki, had their vehicles stationed there and ordered motorcyclists to disembark and roll their bikes on Friday.
A top security chief who pleaded anonymity told one of our correspondents that they were not taking chances in view of the Kano attack.
“The security situation in the state is dicey. Nobody knows what will happen next,” he said.