Easter: Panic Over Boko Haram Threat

The Police have launched a massive security cordon across the northern states in response to fears of possible bomb and gun attacks during the Easter festivities by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

Residents of some the explosion-prone states have been gripped by panic following the security alert over possible Boko Haram attacks during the Easter period.

They were learning from experience.

The last Christmas Day was marred by bomb explosions planted by the sect members at St.Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madala, SulejaNiger State.Over 40 worshippers died in the violence alone.

Similar attacks have followed at two church services in Jos in the last one month and the United States of America (USA),the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia have issued travel warnings to their citizens about possible bomb explosions in the country during Easter.

The police authorities responded to the panic immediately by deploying its men in strategic places across the North.

The Presidency has also assured the public of security of lives and property during the period.

The Joint Task Force (JTF) in Kano is mounting more check points in the metropolis, which has been the target of most of the deadly attacks by the group.There are also more vehicular patrols by security agents, while the Three Brigade of the Army has deployed Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) on the streets.

Security is particularly heavy in military zones,government offices,airport and churches.

The Kano State Police Commissioner, Ibrahim Idris, assured Christians of their safety and police readiness to ensure a violence-free Easter.

He said policemen, including the 1,000 strong anti-terrorism squad, would be on duty all throughout the period.

The spokesman of JTF in Kano, Lt. Ikedichi Iweha, urged residents to ignore reports that the Boko Haram militants are plotting to attack Kano during the Easter festivity.

He urged Kano people to go about their normal businesses saying such reports do not reflect the accurate situation on ground, insisting that there is no cause for alarm.

The Kaduna State government assured residents of the state, especially Christians of adequate security .

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Religious Affairs (Christian Matters), The Rev. Joseph Hayab said: “It has become a normal thing for the US and UK government to warn their people about travelling to Nigeria. I don’t think there is any need for that. I think they are only acting based on past experiences, especially what happened during Christmas.

“I have been driving round Kaduna since morning and I have not seen any sign of panic anywhere as people are going about their business. We pray that things work out like this throughout the celeberation”.

Police spokesman in the state, DSP Aminu Lawan, said the Police were on top of the security situation in the state and have intensified patrol throughout the state.

“We are out to intensify patrol throughout the state. We are only appealing to the people to cooperate with us and provide useful information to the police,”Lawan said,adding: “If you see any suspicious movement, report to the Police immediately. That is why we have increased our patrol. We are taking extra measures to ensure the security of the people.”

The Police in Niger State have deployed an extra, 1,000 policemen in Suleja for special duties during the festival.Attention is also being given to other areas prone to attack.

The State Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Desire D. Nsirim, said: “The Police will provide security in a robust way in all the churches. In fact, there is a special arrangement because we have already prepared our own operational strategy, which is starting with the Easter period. We want to assure Christians who want to go to church throughout this Easter celebration that there is nothing to fear because there will be adequate security provided in the churches and around the state.

“In fact, with God on our side, I do not think we are going to experience any breach of security because the command is ready to police every where in the state throughout this period of Easter celebration. I have ordered that an additional 1,000 policemen should be taken from the Command Headquarters in Minna to join their colleagues in Suleja local government area , so that no church is left uncovered.”

The Suleja Police Area Commander, Mr. Greg E. Eselle, said all security agencies in the council are prepared to ensure a peaceful Easter celebration.

Yobe State Police Commissioner, Moses Onireti, said the police command did not have to wait for any travel warning from the USA or UK to be alert to its responsibility to the citizens.

“Police must not wait for any UK or US alerts to do its job. I am doing my normal job. We are taking up every necessary security measure to ensure that the Easter celebration in Yobe state is hitch free,” he said on phone.

“I don’t go by such rumours of alert. As far as l’m concerned, there is no cause for alarm. Alert or no alert, we are always on red alert 24 hours. Easter or no Easter we are always on alert 24 hours”, CP Onireti said.

Our correspondent, who was at the Catholic Church in Damaturu yesterday, observed that the station of the cross was held inside the old church without the usual procession, apparently because of the prevailing security situation.

Though the authorities have extended the curfew to 10.00pm, most residents prefer to be at home by 8.00pm.

The Police in Plateau State have banned the use of motorcycles from 7pm last Thursday to 6am on Tuesday as part of the security measures to ensure safety of lives and property.

Culled The Nation

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