Bomb Scare: Security Beefed Up Nationwide

Officers of the Bomb Disposal Unit of the Nigeria Airforce frisking motorists and other visitors to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: SIMON ATEBA.

•Officers of the Bomb Disposal Unit of the Nigeria Airforce frisking motorists and other visitors to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: SIMON ATEBA.

Following the 1 October bomb blasts that killed at least 10 persons and injured 30 in  Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, during the 50th independence anniversary celebration, security  has been beefed up nationwide.

•Officers of the Bomb Disposal Unit of the Nigeria Airforce frisking motorists and other visitors to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: SIMON ATEBA.

According to reports by P.M.NEWS correspondents, security has been tightened at strategic  locations, especially in the state capitals and other big towns across the country.

Security was tight this morning within and around the Murtala Muhammed International  Airport, Lagos. All the vehicles moving towards the aerodrome were stopped and searched  thoroughly by a combined team of the Air Force personnel and the Lagos Airport Police  Command.

The security operatives used anit-bomb detector devices and conducted body search on all  the commuters. A reinforced team of policemen could be seen at the terminal building of  MMIA. Metal detectors were used, personal belongings were opened and searched. The  exercise caused heavy traffic jam on the road to the airport.

Security has also been beefed up in and around Abuja as a result of the insecurity  engendered by the Independence Day bomb blasts.  Visitors to the Three Arms zone which  houses the Presidential Villa, the Supreme Court and the National Assembly, are  thoroughly screened by men of the State Security Service, who demand for identity cards  or documents to prove that anybody who wants to access the area has a genuine business to  do there.

Those who want to gain access to buildings housing different ministries and agencies are  also asked to  show proof why they are there, while those who cannot prove that they have  genuine business are turned back.

The section of the Shehu Shagari Way where the October 1 bomb blasts occurred remained  cordoned off at the time of filing this report this morning.  This led to heavy traffic   build up in the alternative routes.

Movement to the expansive premises of the National Assembly has also been curtailed as a  result of claims that text messages of impending attacks on the structure have been  received by some members. As a result, the management of the National Assembly announced  new security measures yesterday that will restrict access to the premises.

Also, shuttle buses which used to take those who want to go into the National Assembly  complex  have been banned as a result of the heightened state of insecurity. There was  heavy security presence at all the entrances to the complex yesterday as vehicles and  visitors going to the complex were searched by officials of SSS and the police.

Also, policemen have been deployed to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport  where  they are subjecting travellers to thorough checks before allowing them into the facility.  Boots of cars going  into the airport are checked.

Police officers have also been deployed to major hotels like the Transcorp Hilton.  Vehicles going into the hotels are now screened and searched unlike before when there was  easy access for those who go there.

From Jos, Plateau State, our correspondent reports that the presence of heavily armed  policemen and soldiers was noticeable at strategic locations in the state capital since  the Abuja bomb blasts occurred.

In Kaduna State, the state Police Command Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO,  Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP, Aminu Lawan told P.M.NEWS this morning that the  state command has been on top of the security situation.

According to Lawan, the command had been instructed to beef up security which it plans to  do from tomorrow. He added that Kaduna and Plateau which were regarded as volatile states  have been asked to be on red alert.

At the Calabar Airport, security was beefed up by operatives in plain clothes. After the  bomb blasts occurred in Abuja last Friday, sources at the airport said the number of  travellers had reduced drastically. Fewer flights are now recorded as only a few people  now buy flight tickets.

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Head of the security at the Aiport confirmed to P.M.NEWS this morning that the number of  policemen deployed there has been increased. However, the situation has remained calm in  the metropolis as the security was not in anyway threatened while people go about their  normal businesses without any form of security threat or molestation.

From across the city of Enugu, investigations revealed that all the security agents have  taken over strategic locations in the state capital.

Both plain clothes and  uniformed policemen with other security operatives have been  deployed to strategic locations in the coal city. However, there has been no threat to  security as at press time when P.M.NEWS went round the city.

The security situation in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, this morning was normal. But  the police have increased patrol and surveillance within and outside the city, especially  in strategic areas. With the peaceful atmosphere, residents of Ilorin and environs were  seen going about their normal business activities.

In Kano, security has been tightened with joint patrol of the police and Army and other  security agents.

Fully armed policemen and bomb disposal squad were also seen in all parts of the city.

The Kano State Commissioner of Police, CP Mohammed Gana told P.M.NEWS on telephone this  morning that the police in the state are ready for any threat to peace and security in  the state.

Gana said part of the measure to ensure security of life and property, is a security  meeting the state governor will have later today with all security agencies.

He urged residents of the city to go about their legitimate businesses without any fear.

Meanwhile, the Abuja bomb incident is still being discussed among citizens in the state.  Most people now avoid political gatherings as they live in apprehension in the wake of  the Abuja bomb blasts. Southerners in the state who spoke to P.M.NEWS on condition of  anonymity confirmed that they received panic telephone calls from the south asking after  their safety as Kano is known for its volatility in times of crisis.

Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital was calm and quiet this morning. The regular  police patrol continued in many parts of the city.

According to the Public Relations officer of the 2nd Amphibious Brigade, Boni Camp, Port  Harcourt, Major Aminu Illiasu, there has been no incident in the Garden City to warrant  soldiers’ involvement in security operation.

Similarly, the spokesperson of the military Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, Colonel  Timothy Antigha told P.M.NEWS this morning that there was nothing to suggest military  build-up in the region.

When P.M.NEWS visited the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, the Central Bank  of Nigeria, CBN, only regular policemen were seen keeping guard at the offices.

—By Our Correspondents