by Isi Esene
Telecommunications facilities in the country will soon have police security details mounting 24-hour surveillance around them due to the recent attacks on telecoms facilities by men suspected to be members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect in several states in the north.
Suspected Boko Haram members on Wednesday attacked several telecoms masts in Maiguguri, Borno State, and later did same in Kano and Yobe States, heralding a new attack strategy by the amorphous militant sect.
The sect claimed responsibility for the attacks saying it was their way of punishing the telecoms company for aiding security agencies in the tracking and killing of their members.
“We are attacking GSM companies because they have helped security agencies to arrest and kill many of our members, and we will continue with our attacks on them until they stop,” said Abu Qaqa, spokesperson for the sect.
In a statement quoting the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar, the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said: “The IGP has directed all State Commissioners of Police to constitute a Special Unit in their respective Commands, whose primary assignment will be to ensure the safety of telecommunication equipment and installations within their areas of jurisdiction.
“State Commissioners of Police are further directed to ensure that personnel of the Police Mobile Force (PMF) and Counter-Terrorism Squads in their Commands are constructively involved in this crucial assignment.
“Zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIGs) have also been directed to supervise the activities all such Units constituted by Commissioners of Police, to ensure strict compliance with the directives of the IGP. They are to constitute similar Units that will assist State Commands within their Zones. AIGs and CPs are to provide dedicated lines in their respective Commands, to enable public spirited Nigerians who may have useful information, to volunteer same to the Police.
“While assuring the public that the Police will do everything within its power to arrest this emerging security trend, the IGP appealed to members of the public to assist the Force with vital information touching on the activities of these hoodlums. He particularly enjoined traditional rulers, community leaders, religious leader and parents to keep watchful eyes on their environment and to report any strange movement to the local Police authority.”
According to reports, the Damaturu and Potiskum attacks took the lives of over 16 people in the sustained attack on lives and property by the Boko Haram sect in the northern part of the country.