Monday, February 3, 2014

UNCOVERED: The Plot Of Bomb Lagos?

An alleged plot by the terrorist group, Boko Haram, to invade Lagos in vehicles painted with military colours has been uncovered by security operatives.
The Guardian learnt at the weekend from military authorities that the group planned to attack Lagos with weapons in vehicles used by senior military officers painted with the colours of the Army, Navy or Air Force.
This intelligence has made military authorities to order soldiers and naval ratings to thoroughly search vehicles painted with military colours, including those belonging to generals.
A source said: “No officer’s car painted with military colours is left out in this regard.”
Some months ago, a terrorist group allegedly conveyed weapons to Lagos inside some of the numerous fuel tankers that ply major roads to the country’s former capital and indeed the nation’s commercial nerve centre.
It was learnt then that indeed the federal and Lagos authorities were quite startled that the masterminds of the planned terror act could pile up weapons of mass destruction in the state, generally considered the safest haven for investment at the moment in the country.
The state authorities, including the governor, were shown the illegal arms that the security and intelligence community’s inter-agency co-operation confiscated. “They were shocked, really shocked when they were shown the level of organisational capacity of the evil ones that planned to attack Lagos…” a top source disclosed then.
A two-week raid carried out some months ago by a Joint Task Force led by operatives of the Nigerian Army and State Security Service (SSS) saved residents in Lagos and Ogun states from possible attacks by the terrorists.
The joint raid had led to the arrest of 42 members of the dreaded Boko Haram who were dislodged from the North-East by military purge carried out under emergency rule in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states and had migrated to Lagos and Ogun states to regroup and plant terrorist cells.
The suspects were rounded up through intelligence information by one of the supposed Boko Haram members stationed in Lagos, who unknown to the suspects, was actually planted and had their telephone numbers tracked by the military operatives.
Based on intelligence reports, the suspects were ‘smoked’ out from Ibafo and Ileke new trailer garage in Ogun State, Mafoluku, Alaba, Ijora-Badia, Aviation Quarters in Mafoluku-Oshodi, Ketu and Mile Two motor parks, Orile trailer park, Lekki new extension and Bar Beach in Victoria Island.
The JTF had a few months ago uncovered and dismantled the plot by the alleged terrorists to plant cells in the western part of the country with Lagos as the headquarters.
Security operatives that briefed the National Assembly leaders last year about the reality of the planned invasion of Lagos reportedly told the federal legislators that indeed the attackers had planned to cripple the economy.
Former Head of State, the late Gen. Murtala Muhammed, had in 1976 recognised the strategic importance of Lagos even while he was announcing the creation of the country’s new capital, Abuja, then.
His words in a national broadcast to the nation on January 3, 1976: “…Lagos will, in the foreseeable future, remain the nation’s commercial capital and one of its nerve centres. But in terms of servicing the present infrastructure alone, the committed amount of money and effort required will be such that Lagos State will not be ready to cope.
“It will even be unfair to expect the state to bear this heavy burden on its own. It is therefore necessary for the Federal Government to continue to sustain the substantial investment in the area. The port facilities and other economic activities in the Lagos area have to be expanded.
“There is need in the circumstances for the Federal Government to maintain a special defence and security arrangement in Lagos which will henceforth be designated a special area. These arrangements will be carefully worked out and written into the new constitution. Kaduna and Port Harcourt are to be accorded similar status and designated as Special Areas…”
It was learnt that the security chiefs told the federal legislators and their presiding officers that some of the attackers captured had hinted that the plot was deliberate: to cripple the nerve centre of the country’s commerce and industry, (a city that hosts the international air and sea ports) so that the nation’s economy could collapse.
It was said that the insurgents had reasoned that since they had successfully crippled business operations in the North, there should be federal character in the spread of the destruction, as even the South-East and South-South geo-political zones too have been negatively affected by the insurgency and kidnapping. The federal legislators were said to have been alarmed by a revelation about the sense of urgency of the insurgents to hit Lagos “just to make Nigeria ungovernable for the present administration.”
The Guardian was told that the implications of targeting the very strategic Lagos Third Mainland Bridge have been worrisome to authorities at all levels. This is part of the reasons for the concerns in Abuja and Lagos.
The Third Mainland Bridge is the longest of the three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the Mainland. The other two are the Eko and Carter Bridges. It is the longest bridge in Africa. The Third Mainland Bridge is a vital artery of the network of federal highways and commands high patronage in Lagos Municipal Area, as it connects two of the Lagos State’s commercial hubs, Victoria Island and Ikeja.
The bridge, which has about 350,000 daily users, is also a vital link to Lekki, Ajah and Epe communities. Midway through the bridge, there is a link to Herbert Macaulay Way, Yaba. The bridge starts really from Oworonsoki, which is linked to the Oshodi–Apapa Expressway and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and ends at the Adeniji Adele Interchange on Lagos Island. Built by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, the bridge was commissioned by former Military President Ibrahim Babangida in 1990 and it measures about 11.8 km in length.
The bridge posts huge economic relevance to the country as it saves commuters who shuttle between two of the state’s commercial hubs, Victoria Island and Ikeja, a lot of man-hours. It was said that the last repair of the important bridge cost the nation N1.055 billion.
It is feared that if Lagos Third Mainland Bridge is destroyed, Lagos and indeed Nigeria, are destroyed. It was estimated that the cache of arms seized from the insurgents when it was reported that Boko Haram entered Lagos was capable of wreaking havoc on the vital bridge in the heart of Lagos.
Source: The Guardian