We’Ll Prevent Is Jihadists, Says Govt

Filed in News by on June 20, 2018

•SGF puts Customs, NCAA on red alert

NIGERIANS were told yesterday not to panic over reports that Islamic State (IS) fighters were coming into the country.

The Federal Government is taking steps to stop them through a joint approach with countries in the Sahel Region and by safeguarding the airports, Defence Minister Mansur Dan-Ali said.

A report in the British media has alleged that IS fighters from Syria are sneaking into Nigeria for training ahead of possible attacks on the United Kingdom.

Dan-Ali said the issue would be addressed at the meeting of the Ministers of Defence of the Community of Sahel Saharan States (CEN-SAD). The three-day meeting begins today in Abuja.

“The recruitment and training of ISIS fighters on Nigerian soil is on the table; it is on top of the agenda of the Meeting of the Ministers of Defence of the Sahel Region and it will be discussed elaborately with a view to find lasting solutions to it.

“Such movement of ISIS members into Nigeria is illegal and the Meeting of the Ministers is aware of it and we are trying to curtail this illegal movement,” the minister, representaed by Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Hajiya Saratu Batagarawa, said.

The meeting will take strategic decisions on Boko Haram, kidnappings and killings by bandits in the Northwest as well as the clashes between Fulani herders and farmers.

The minister said: “These issues are the basis for forming this regional organisation to enhance intelligence sharing among – countries, to checkmate trans-border and cross border crimes and banditry.

“The idea is that crimes have no border and it is incumbent on all member-countries to take a holistic approach to arrive at common solutions to the challenge.”

He said it was not true that the agreement on the protection of the Lake Chad Basin by some countries was being threatened by the fact that some were reneging on their promises, insisting that the agreement was intact.

Dan- Ali explained that the sub-Regional Organisation established in Tripoli, Libya, in February, 1998, following a summit of Heads of States of Libya, Niger, Mali, Sudan and Chad would, among others, promote among member-states cooperation in defence and security and to tackle the thorny issues of insecurity across the sub-Region;

He added that the all-African member-states of the Community had since increased in number to 28. Members are committed to establishing “a sub-Regional Economic Union integrating investment in the fields of Agriculture, Industry and Energy, as well as Social and Cultural sectors”.

Aviation authorities spoke yesterday of reinforced security at the international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said it had secured the collaboration of the Joint Military Task Force to step up surveillance at sensitive areas of airports, including terminal buildings, cargo areas, runway, taxiway and other restricted areas.

FAAN spokesperson Mrs Henrietta Yakubu said new measures were being taken to keep the airports safe for passengers and other users.

Mrs Yakubu said security officers, comprising the joint military task force and aviation, had been deployed to keep an eye on the perimeter fence, the cargo area, the runway and other restricted areas.

She said screening of baggage before entering the terminal was very important as any suspected baggage would be taken aside and manually checked by operatives of the Bomb Detection Unit of the Police, the Quarantine, NDLEA and AVSEC officers.

“All of our major airports, especially the international airports, we have the joint military task force and they are helping us to check all of this and it is being handled at the highest level and I can assure you that FAAN is working,” she said.

“We are encouraging passengers to make use of the multi-storey car park to reduce the number of vehicles dropping and picking up departing and arriving passengers,” Mrs Yakubu said

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