Last week’s attack on the Presidential Guards Brigade clearly indicated that terrorists must have made inroads into the Federal Capital Territory, the country’s seat of power, SOLOMON ODENIYI writes
Three daring attacks by terrorists within three weeks have raised questions about the security architecture in the nation’s capital.
Regarded as one of the most fortified custodial centres in the country, the Kuje Medium Custodial Centre was on July 5 successfully attacked by members of the Islamic State for West African Province, who freed 443 inmates, including 69 of their members. The terrorists, who were said to be over 100, reportedly operated for more than two hours and overwhelmed a battalion of the Nigerian Army, Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, and the Armed Squad of the Nigerian Correctional Service, among others stationed at the facility.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.); the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; and the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, were all totally befuddled at the sheer brazenness with which the attack was carried out.
The President and some of his cabinet members, as well as the Senate President, had yet to recover from the shock and were still apprehensive about the Kuje attack and the possibility of the escapees staying back to torment them when they woke up to yet another report of an attack on the Presidential Guards Brigade last Sunday.
The Presidential Guards Brigade, which provides security for the Presidential Villa, the nation’s capital, and neighboring communities, was ambushed by terrorists, who killed two officers and six soldiers.
Again on Thursday night, some dare-devil
terrorists went to a military checkpoint located at Zuma Rock and opened fire on personnel on duty. Although they were repelled, a soldier was killed in that attack while two were injured.
Presently, all institutions of learning in the Federal Capital Territory have been abruptly shut down due to the rising insecurity in the territory.
Before these attacks, there have been pockets of cases leading to the deaths and abductions of some residents in Robochi, Abaji, Kwali, and Kuje, among other neighbouring communities in the FCT.
In March, residents of Chukuku in the Kuje Area Council blocked the Gwagwalada-Kuje express road and made bonfires to protest against the incessant abductions and killings in their community.
As of then, they claimed no fewer than 30 residents had been abducted since the year started.
However, security analysts believe these incidents and the spectre of insecurity witnessed in neighbouring states like Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi, and Kaduna should have put the security operatives and the government on red alert and measures capable of averting these attacks should have been emplaced.
Compounding the fears of the residents was the leaked memo from the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, which reported a planned attack by terrorists on the FCT.
In addition to this, there has been a litany of messages on social media platforms warning residents to refrain from some places within the territory.