Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: New Strategy - Boko Haram Targets Lokoja Bridge

Following intelligence reports that the dreaded members of the Boko Haram sect were planning to bomb Murtala Muhammed Bridge, along the Lokoja-Abuja highway, operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) have been compelled to 'keep night vigil' on the two bridges so as to repel any attack from the fundamentalists.

LEADERSHIP reliably gathered that security agents had, for the past two days, been sleeping under both Murtala and Itobe bridges, in the western and eastern flanks of Kogi State.

They also scrutinised passengers and vehicles plying the highway to ensure that nothing unusual happens around the ever busy road.

A senior officer of the SSS who craved anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue confirmed the development to our correspondent.

He added that a religious sect known as Abani, with ideology similar to the Boko Haram, in Adavi local government area of the state, had been placed under surveillance.

Although from all security reports, the state could not accommodate members of the dreaded sect, measures are being taken to avoid being caught napping, he stated.

He urged the people of the state to be security conscious, and report any suspicious movement to the law enforcement agents, just as he disclosed that all public places and relaxation centres in Lokoja metropolis were being closely monitored by operatives.

He further stressed that the dreaded sect might seek haven in some northern states, and urged members of the public to be vigilant.

He maintained that, no matter the perception of Nigerians, the sect could never overpower the security agency.

Meanwhile, a robbery suspect has been shot dead by men of the state police command.

LEADERSHIP gathered that the suspect met his waterloo over the weekend at Ageva in Okene local government area during an encounter with the police.

The chairman, Council of Ulamas of the Jama,atu Izalatul Bidia Wa Igamatis Sunnah (JIBWIS), Sheik Sani Yahaya Jingir, has said that Boko Haram is a non-Muslim group with a grand design supported by external forces outside the country to actualise the prediction of the United States that Nigeria would collapse within a period of time.

Speaking to journalists at Government House, Lafia, when he paid a courtesy call to the Nasarawa State governor, Umaru Tanko Al- Makura, Sheik Jingir said the unfolding scenario of the Boko Haram's activities was the manifestation of the US prediction that Nigeria would disintegrate within a period of time.

He said Boko Haram came into existence after the prediction of US that Nigeria state would collapse within a period determined by the same Americans who did not wish the country well, adding that government should investigate such statement vis-a-vis the activities of the sect.

Sheik Jingir, who was in Lafia for the national annual preaching of the JIBWIS, insisted that members of Boko Haram were non-Muslims who hide under the umbrella of Islam to achieve their alleged mission of destroying the Nigerian state using dubious means.

On the controversial issue of Islamic banking, the cleric said those criticising the establishment of the bank are ignorant of the 1999 Constitution which gives every individual the right to do business and practice their religion.

Sheik Jingir cautioned Nigerians on the need to live in peace and harmony and eschew primordial sentiments.

The dreaded sect late Saturday night shot and killed seven persons in Umarari area of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

The sect also carried out another attack yesterday, killing a prominent All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) chieftain in the state, Alhaji Mustafa Baale.

An online agency, SaharaReporters, reports that Baale, a former member of the Borno State House of Assembly, was the caretaker chairman of Jere local government area before he was killed.

The latest killings underscore the growing powers of the sect to kill politicians and state officials at will after successfully suicide-bombing the police headquarters in Abuja a few weeks ago.

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