THE counter-terrorism war of the Federal Government got a boost yesterday with a promise from the United States (U.S.) Government to send officials from its Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other security experts to the country.
The (FBI) operatives are to offer technical assistance to the Federal Government to deal with terrorism.
Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, Alan Tousignant, made the disclosure yesterday in Abuja when he led a security delegation to Interior Minister Abdulrahman Dambazzau.
The envoy said the delegation, including a team of the U.S Security Governance Initiative (SGI), was in the country as a follow-up to an earlier visit in January.
The SGI is an initiative of the U.S. Government that offers enhanced security technical assistance to six African countries, including Nigeria.
Mr. Tousignant said the delegation’s visit was at the request of the Federal Government to provide a holistic security technical assistance and not to donate any equipment.
He explained that the government identified three major areas of partnership to include enhancing the Ministry of Interior’s emergency response coordination, Ministry of Defence’s procurement procedure and the civilian security planning for the Northeast.
He said the week-long interaction between the SGI team and the Nigerian security agencies would fashion out a robust roadmap to ensure better efficiency, transparency and justice in Nigeria’s security architecture.
The SGI Team leader, Stephen Nolan, said both countries were working to finalise and implement a Joint Country Action Plan (JCAP) which was a document that outlined a roadmap for a successful partnership.
He said that the JCAP emphasised partnership and finding Nigerian solution to its security challenges not about what the U.S. was doing for Nigeria.
Mr. Nolan, however, assured that the forthcoming elections in the U.S. and the change of government in January 2017 would not affect the project as they had been working hard to ensure its sustenance.
He said: “I want to assure you that we have been working for the continuity and sustainability of this project, even after the Obama administration in January, 2017.”
Gen Dambazau thanked the delegation for the visit and expressed optimism that the partnership would help to re-position the security architecture of the country.
He said the partnership would involve all security agencies and not just those of the Ministry of Interior so as to fashion out a holistic security roadmap to deal with terrorism and other crimes.
The minister said that the meeting was in tandem with President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda to address security, corruption and the economy of the country in line with international best practice.
He urged officials from all security agencies in the country that were part of the meeting to show commitment and dedication to the task ahead.
At yesterday’s parley were: The Nigeria Police Force, Army, Air Force, Navy, Immigration, Prisons, Civil Defence and Fire Service.
Security forces on red alert in Lagos
Security chiefs yesterday urged residents not to panic over the threat by Boko Haram to invade prisons in Lagos to free its detained members.
They dismissed the threat as empty.
Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command (WNC) Rear Admiral Fergusson Bobai, said prisons in Lagos were well guarded, adding that the navy which also shares boundary with some of the prisons has a fortified territory.
Admiral Bobai said: “We have been on high alert since they threatened to bomb some facilities in the state and we have not stepped it down. Although we do not have any information to the effect that they plan to attack prisons in Lagos, I can tell you that the prisons are well guarded by the Army, the Police and the prison guards.
“Also, we have fortified our territory because we are neighbours with the prisons. So, we are on the alert.”
General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division, Maj.-Gen. Isidore Edet said the army does not take any threat to lives and property lightly.
“It is not the first time they have threatened. The Federal Government, which the army serves, takes any threat to lives and property seriously. We have been putting efforts on ground and that has made them not to succeed in Lagos.
“We have been arresting Boko Haram elements almost on a daily basis since I came to Lagos. I have said so in one of my press statements. We have been doing this without the threats made in the press. So, what we do isn’t what we should put up in the media. We take no threat lightly,” he said.
Police Commissioner Fatai Owoseni said “proactive measures are in place to ensure that terrorists do not succeed.” The Nation