Security strengthened for Eid-el-Kabir

By Paul Michael (Abuja) and Friday Omosola (Akure)

  • IGP puts operatives on red alert
Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has charged the leadership of all commands to beef up security and prevent any breach in their Areas of Responsibility (AoR) throughout the Eid-el-Kabir season and beyond.

Nigerian Muslims are joining others worldwide to mark Sallah.

Baba, in a statement signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, also assured the general public of the efforts of the police to improve safety and security across the country.

Insecurity has worsened across the country in the last few months with critical infrastructures and other major facilities such as worship centres, airports, security bases, schools and marketplaces among others, being targeted.

According to Adejobi, “The IGP equally charged Commissioners of Police (CPs) and Tactical Commanders in all the States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and their supervisory Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs), to beef-up security ahead of the Eid-el-Kabir celebration, to prevent any untoward situation in their Areas of Responsibility (AoR) throughout the Eid-el-Kabir season and beyond.”

He further stated that the IGP directed the supervisory AIGs and their respective CPs to ensure adequate deployment of officers and assets to prevent the occurrence of crimes and criminality, as well as build confidence amongst the citizens.

“The police boss charged officers and men of the Police to engage in critical assessment of threat prone areas, thorough stop and search, raids on black spots and other anti-crime strategies capable of sustaining peace and public safety in Nigeria.

“The IGP equally warned that personnel deployed must be professional and mindful of the fundamental rights of the citizens, and discharge their responsibilities with all sense of decorum and alertness,” he stressed.

Congratulating the Muslim faithful on the occasion of Eid-el-Kabir celebration, the IGP enjoined them to celebrate and enjoy the beauty of the religious festivities while remaining security-conscious.

He equally urged them to report all suspicious individuals, movements, or activities to the police for prompt intervention. He admonished them to cooperate with operatives of security agencies deployed on duty at strategic places for the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations.

Sokoto State Police Command assured residents of adequate security in worship centres. Major highways and recreational centres during the Sallah celebrations.

State Commissioner of Police, CP Muhammed Usaini Gumel, gave the assurance in a press statement signed by the spokesperson of the Command, DSP Sanusi Abubakar, on Friday. He disclosed that security strategies in synergy with other security agencies have been revised.

“CP Muhammed Usaini Gumel FIPMA, psc wishes to assure members of the public that adequate provisions are being put in place to provide elaborate security to locations that include: worship centres, major highways, recreational centres, entry and exit routes and other strategic locations before, during and after the celebration to the people across the state.

“The police command is also mindful of the volume of human and vehicular traffic occasioned by the Sallah festival and advised members of the public to cooperate with policemen deployed for traffic control by police and the relevant security agencies deployed on duty to ease such traffic congestion in the city and other locations across the state,” Abubakar said.

The command implored members of the public to be vigilant, watchful of their wards, and children and to report suspicious activities to 07068848035 for a prompt response.

In the same vein, CP Ari Muhammed Ali of the Delta State Command has assured all Muslim faithful in the State of a hitch-free Sallah celebration.

According to the Public Relations Officers of the Command, DSP Bright Edafe, in a statement, Ali has ordered a massive deployment of officers to ensure adequate security across the State.

“The CP warns cultists and mischief makers to steer clear as the Command will deal decisively with anybody who is found wanting. To this end, the CP has ordered a massive deployment of personnel which includes special constabularies across the State for the purpose of providing adequate security in all Muslim prayer grounds and strategic locations in the State.

“The CP also directed all DPOS to intensify raids of criminal hideouts and black spots within their areas of responsibility. The CP adjured the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations, Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers, and Tactical Operations Officers to employ means of ensuring thorough supervision of personnel deployed for the actualization of peace and tranquillity during and after the celebration,” Edafe said.

On a philosophical note, President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, urged Nigerians to end the orgy of evil in the land, saying no amount of religious pretence could win the love of God, without genuinely practising the injunction of true love for humanity, which all faiths preach.

The President in his Eid-el Kabir message to Nigerian Muslims and other citizens, while admonishing the people to put the interest of the country above selfish ones, said they must use religion as a motivation for the love of our common humanity.

His words: “If we are putting the teachings of our religions into practice, most of the evils afflicting our society would have been solved. Religion shouldn’t just be used as a mere badge of identity, but as a motivator for doing good for our country and humanity.

“The exploitation of the people by traders and the stealing of public funds by civil servants and other holders of public trust is a reflection of the abandonment of the teachings of our religions. “Our society is a bundle of contradictions.

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People display external religiosity without fear of God; they make life difficult for others; money becomes their god; leaders abandon their oaths of office by taking money meant for the welfare of the people and divert it to their private pockets,” he said.

Buhari congratulated the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria and the world and particularly saluted “the brave men and women in uniform fighting terror on many fronts and their families, as well as others held hostage and kept away from their families by wicked and heartless terrorists.”

He urged Muslims to reflect on the significance of the sacrifice epitomised by Eid. The President, who flew to Dakar, Senegal shortly after two significant security scares in the country, first, with the attack on his convoy and invasion of the Kuje Prison in Abuja, were some 64 dangerous terrorists were freed by their members, said the incidents were against the Islamic faith.

He said: “We should show love and care to our neighbours and others while celebrating this spiritually important event in our lives. Muslims must promote the good virtues of Islam through personal examples and practice. Muslims should avoid association with violent extremist ideas that have wrongly given Islam a negative image or poor perception.”

On the current security challenges and costs of living in the country, President Buhari assured Nigerians: “I won’t rest until I bring relief to Nigerians. I am quite aware of the difficulties people are facing and working to resolve them.”

The President hopes that this Eid will be a source of blessing, peace, prosperity and safety for all Nigerians, stressing that coexistence and stability will prevail in the Buhari arrived in his country home, Daura, in Katsina State, for the Eid-el- Kabir, on Friday evening.

The President had earlier arrived at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua International Airport, Katsina, from where he was flown to the ancient town in a helicopter. He arrived Daura few minutes to six in the evening to the warm embrace of the Emir, Alhaji Faruq Umar, and other dignataries in the town.

According to reports, the President would be in Daura throughout the Sallah period where he is expected to join his kinsmen in celebrating the Sallah. He is also expected to use the Sallah vacation to attend to private matters.

On his part, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has again bewailed the present grinding poverty and pervasive insecurity in the land, saying this is the period Nigerians must look out, comfort and help one another in order to survive the ugly situation.

The Waziri Adamawa, who is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in his Eid-elKabir message, acknowledged the harrowing experience Nigerians, are facing.

“I congratulate Muslims in Nigeria and across the world on the occasion of the Eid-el-Kabir celebration. As we celebrate, I wish to remind that the essence of the celebration of the Eidel-Kabir is about sacrifice, love, and hope for a peaceful coexistence in our dear country, and the world at large,” he said.

“The purpose of the celebration has a bold reflection on Nigeria. Our country is broken and insecurity has become a daily menace staring all our compatriots in the face.

”The hardships in the land and the harrowing experiences that people go through to survive, and the pervasive lack of unity amongst Nigerians, are the reasons why we must do a sober reflection on the State of our Nation, as we mark this year’s Sallah.

”Therefore, selfless sacrifice and communal love as exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim and his son, Ishmael, should guide us, as we submit ourselves and needs to the Will of Allah.

”If we emulate the righteousness and great virtues of the Holy Prophet, mankind shall no doubt receive the reward of Allah’s love and mercy. Meanwhile, the privileged and wealthy ones amongst us need to intensify their acts of charity to the less privileged.

There’s love in sharing. ”Let’s work in concert to purposefully lessen the hardship facing our brothers and sisters. Let’s love our neighbors as ourselves. I wish to also task the government at all levels to play its Constitutional role, by being upright and dutiful and prioritize the needs of the people they have taken an oath to serve.

The unity, security and development of our country is sacrosanct. ”The expression of love and sacrifice symbolized by the Eid-el-Kabir celebration has a strong effect in the relationship between the government and the governed. It is incumbent on the government to optimally discharge its responsibilities to the people. It is only when this is done that there can be love between the government and the governed.

”Love is a pre-condition for God’s mercies and blessings, and truth must guide all relationships, especially between the government and the people. As stakeholders, the citizens too, should take a lesson from the celebration of Eid-elKabir by being up and doing in their civic responsibilities.

”As we inch towards the deadline on the on-going voter registration exercise, the people must ensure that they play their roles by not just getting their Permanent Voters Card (PVC), but casting their votes for the best candidates in the election next year. Above all, I pray for peace during and after the Eid celebration even as I task Nigerians to work even harder in ensuring unity of all peoples, tribes and faiths in the country.”

Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has felicitated with Muslims. He, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Yinka Oyebode, urged the Muslims Ummah to uphold lessons of love, loyalty and sacrifice which are the foundation of the festival, during and after the festivities.

The Nigeria Governors Forum Chairman noted that the Eid- al-Kabir became a symbolic event following the bountiful reward Prophet Ibraheem received for his demonstrated perseverance and absolute faith in God by holding tenaciously to his faith during a trying period.

Fayemi said this year’s Eid-el-Kabir festival offers another opportunity for sober reflection and spiritual renewal which Allah demands from the faithful. He urged the Muslim faithful and adherents of other faiths in the country to make peaceful coexistence their watchword and work together for a more peaceful, united and prosperous Nigeria.

According to him, Nigerians need to imbibe the lessons of commitment, dedication and obedience to higher authority as demonstrated in Prophet Ibraheem’s willingness to sacrifice his son in deference to the will of God, which Eid-elKabir commemorates.

“This symbolic Islamic festival is a constant reminder to us that, there will always be great rewards when we have abiding faith and patience during trying periods and remain persistent in prayers.

“It also reminds us of the sacrifice we are to make not only for spiritual fulfilment but for the development of our society and advancement of humanity. Development and progress would only be achieved in an atmosphere of peace, unity and mutual respect. We must, therefore, eschew situations that can further divide us as a people.”

He also urged Muslim faithful to pray for peace in the country, as they perform the Arafat rites, noting that the fervent prayers by various religious bodies and individuals have accounted largely for the relative peace and progress recorded in recent times.

“I extend warm greetings to the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria as they celebrate Eid-el-Kabir Sallah festival. I wish the good people of Ekiti State and Nigeria the joy, peace and blessing of the season.

“As we celebrate, let us remember the poor and the needy in line with God’s injunction to be our brother’s keeper. Quite importantly, it is also a time to pray for our dear country to overcome current security and economic challenges”, he added.

Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has stated that the Nigeria Police Force is overstretched, understaffed and lacks the capacity to adequately protect the citizens of the country.

Akeredolu spoke in his office while receiving the new Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 17, AIG Yunnus Mohammed Akeera. He reiterated the need to have State Police to effectively secure the lives and property of the people. He said a single police command in Abuja could not adequately secure the country.

His words: ”As you know, Zone 17 is probably one of the newest. When the Zone was created the State Government had to shoulder a lot of responsibilities. When we got you a location, we had to renovate it.

“We do not run away from the fact that the Police is overstretched. In the same way, we do not run away from the fact that a single police command in Abuja will not be adequate to police the large populace of the country. This has led to our demand for State Police.

“We can complement each other. I have had Senior Police Officers who agreed on State Police. Maybe they can’t say it in public. Go to Ekiti and even here in Ondo State, most of the Police Stations have no vehicle. Look at the unfortunate incident that happened in Owo, Police said they had no vehicle to pursue the perpetrators.

“Let us all sit down and agree that we should have a system that will create division of labour. We can have the Federal Police and then, the State Police. You can face up to a major task like intelligence gathering and pass it to the State Police to work on. What is happening, if not for lack of intelligence people will not go to Kuje and attack the place in Abuja. We need your cooperation too in this our cry for a dual Police System that can work together.

“People are moving down south to take refuge in our forest. You don’t have the men and officers to secure the country. The Police Force is understaffed. We appreciate your limitations in terms of men, ammunition and so on.”

Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has condemned Tuesday’s attack on the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre in Abuja by terrorists. Tinubu stated that the incessant terror attacks plaguing the country were worrisome just as he called on Nigerians to remain vigilant and united behind constituted authorities.

The former governor of Lagos State said this via a statement issued on Friday by his media aide, Tunde Rahman. The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) confirmed that four inmates of the Kuje correctional centre died in Tuesday’s attack, while hundreds of prisoners escaped.

The NCoS said the assailants broke into the correctional centre using explosive devices through the main entrance and the fence of the facility respectively. The Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorist group had claimed responsibility for the attack.

Reacting to the attack, Tinubu said: “Tuesday’s terror attack on Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre is worrisome. These incessant attacks on government’s institutions and innocent citizens is a sad reminder that we still have a lot to do to put these evil forces in check.

“I totally condemn this dastardly attack. The government must immediately go after the attackers and fleeing inmates of this facility.

“While also calling for full investigation of the incident and the possible failure to act on intelligence, we must all remain vigilant and united. “This moment calls for national unity and deep introspection.

“We must continue to support the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in its battle against insurgents and determination to confront these agents of darkness.

“I commiserate with the families and relations of those who lost their lives in the attack. I also call on the government to continue to provide succour and medical attention to those injured,” the APC presidential standard-bearer stated.

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