Boko Haram threat: South West placed on security alert

Following an electronic threat message from a group that claimed to be working with the Boko Haram to bomb the University of Ibadan, the police have tightened security across South West states.

Although the threat specifically mentioned the University of Ibadan, the police and other security agencies have decided to widen the security net to cover other contiguous states.

Both the Oyo State police command and the Zone Eleven Command of the police based in Osogbo, Osun State told Saturday Tribune that their men had been put on “invisible” alert. Also, Zone 2 Command of the police in charge of Lagos and Ogun states said its men had fortified security in the two states.

The Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Mr Sam Adegbuyi assured the management, staff and students of the University of Ibadan and its environment as well residents of the state of adequate protection from the present time, through the Independence Day anniversary to the ‘ember’ months.

the threat message was circulated by the group which called itself al-Wilayat al-Islamiyya Gharb Afriqiyya, otherwise known as Boko Haram,that it would strike in the University of Ibadan by detonating bombs targeted at staff and students of the institution.

The mail which had gone viral online read: “Open letter to all staff of (the) University of Ibadan. You people are an embarrassment to Nigeria and are the people that brought Western education to Nigeria.

“You doomed this nation and in turn you are all going to be doomed. Most of you are going to die before Independence Day. You will not spend the Independence Day in peace; you and all your students. Detonations will start going of(f) from tomorrow till the Independence Day and there is nothing you can do, as we are among you.

“Even your little searches at the gate won’t do anything. By the time we are through with you, your government will be sorry.”

Security has been tightened at the university gate where students, workers and visitors spent hours going through screening on Friday.

Speaking to the Saturday Tribune in his office on Friday, the police commissioner said that though the matter was not officially reported, the command intercepted the threat through intelligence gathering and had been doing everything humanly possible to authenticate the story.

“It is a rumour but we won’t take it lightly. We want to ensure that no unpleasant situation occurs in the university or its environs,” Adegbuyi stated further.

He remarked that the issue of security provision was not in isolation to the University of Ibadan as the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris’s efforts and those of his command were geared towards providing security generally.

He disclosed that his command was working with sister agencies and relevant department s within his command to secure the premier university without raising apprehension in the people.

“We have put our machineries in place and working closely with sister security agencies and we have deployed enough personnel to work with the internal security personnel of the university without necessarily sending panic among the residents of the university community and its environs,” the police commissioner told Saturday Tribune.

On measures being taken to ensure security of lives and property during the Independence Day anniversary celebration on October I, Adegbuyi said that the arrangement was not limited to Oyo State or University of Ibadan.

“We are talking of the issue of threat to security to the country at large and we are leaving no stone unturned. We get directives from the Inspector General of Police for us to be conscious of threats, not only to institutions but event centres, places of worship, government installations and public institutions. We have deployed enough personnel on surveillance and intelligence gathering,” he said.

Adegbuyi pointed out that it would not be the first time that such threat would be issued to the institution, “and we don’t want any group to distract us from our primary responsibility. We have planned our operation order for the ‘ember’ months as directed by the IGP because of their peculiar security challenges globally.”

Also, the Assistant Inspector Genral of Police in Zone 11, AIG Dan Bature, in a telephone interview with Saturday Tribune, said that his zone had not been able to determine the source(s) of the threat or establish its genuineness, confirming the Oyo police commissioner’s statement that it was not the first time such would be issued to the University of Ibadan.

According to AIG Bature, “since it (the threat) is from the social media, anyone can post anything. But because of the situation in the country, we will not take any information lightly.

“I have put all the state Commissioners of Police in the zone on the alert. They have been asked to redouble efforts. We have also reinforced security at UI; our operatives are there working with the institution’s security.

“Similar measures are also in place in other state commands. We are assuring everyone that all things being equal, we will not experience any ugly incident.”

When contacted, the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 2, with headquarters in Lagos State, Abdulmajid Ali, also said there was no cause for alarm with what his zone had on ground, assuring that police commands under the zone had fortified their security arrangements to forestall any untoward happening.

The AIG, who spoke through the Zonal Police Public Relations Officer, SP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, stated that though no official report was received in relation to such information on Boko Haram threat, the zone, through its police commands, had good structures on ground, thus not envisaging any problem.

He added that the zone was working with other security agencies in synergy to ensure security of lives.

Ali said further: “We are taking policing to the grassroots, so everybody in the zone is incorporated into our security arrangement.”