Despite warnings from the Department of State Services about terrorist plans to bomb certain places of worship and other critical infrastructure, most religious organizations in the Federal Capital Territory have not put in place protective measures. adequate security to protect the faithful from possible attacks.
Recall that the DSS sounded the alarm over the criminals’ plans to detonate explosives as well as attack public infrastructure, places of worship and relaxation centers in easy and hard target areas of the country.
DSS spokesman Peter Afunanya said in a statement that his organization had uncovered a plan by suspected criminal gangs to forge an alliance to launch new attacks on critical infrastructure.
He said: “The Department of State Services hereby draws public attention to the plans of criminal elements to return the country to the pre-2015 era, recalling IED attacks on easy and hard targets in some parts of the country.
“While there are already reported instances of such incidents in some areas, the Service has uncovered a scheme by suspected criminal gangs to forge an alliance among themselves to launch new attacks on critical infrastructure and other locations. frequented public such as worship and relaxation centers, especially during and after holidays and festivals
“The goal is to achieve selfish interests and sow fear among citizens. The Service, however, recalls its earlier warning that certain groups and individuals were plotting to stoke violence in the country.
“As a result of these, customers, owners and managers of the aforementioned public places are advised to beware of this development and to implement basic security measures to deter threats.
“While the Service is committed to disrupting this trend and pattern of violent attacks, it will continue to partner with other security agencies to ensure that the necessary exercises are put in place so that peace and public order are not compromised.”
But the findings of THE WHISTLER showed that while some worship centers made no attempt to increase security around their facilities, as advised by the DSS, others simply maintained their routine security checks without deliberately attempting to effectively screen authorized vehicles to enter their premises.
Some of the worship centers visited are Methodist Church of Nigeria, Living Faith Church, ECWA Church, Redeemed Christian Church of God, Solid Rock, COZA, Assemblies of God Church and First Baptist Church , among others.
It was found that some of the branches of these churches in the phase 3 and 4 area of Kubwa, a suburb that is part of the FCT, had no additional security presence apart from the regular arrangement implemented by the churches.
In the vicinity of the Gwarinpa federal housing estate, the security presence at worship centers in this area did not improve as churches were seen with little or no security presence.
Although a Galadima Police Division patrol team was sighted around its jurisdiction, churches around First and Third Avenue in the estate, including the Presbyterian Church, ECWA, Assemblies of God and COZA, respectively, had the same regular security presence.
Similarly, in the Garki area of the FCT, there were also no additional security measures or guidelines deployed around the First Baptist Church located in the Axis.
In the Jahi district of the capital, only a police van positioned in front of the main entrance of the Living Faith Church with two armed officers was seen.
It was learned that the Jahi branch of Living Faith Church had taken precautionary measures such as scanning the bags as well as using a walkie-talkie for internal communication synergy.
The presiding cleric is said to have urged church members to be security conscious while asking members of the armed forces to help with their rich experience in securing the church.
FCT Police Commissioner Sunday Babaji had on Friday ordered the deployment of an undisclosed number of officers ahead of the Ramadan celebration.
The Commissioner had assured residents of FCT of a robust security architecture, including watertight security in all places of worship and their surroundings; effective foot and vehicle patrols in parks and recreation and entertainment centres.
He had also assured that there will be a massive deployment of traffic personnel at strategic points to ensure smooth traffic.
But our correspondents did not see any from the junction area of the city’s airport to the popular district of Jabi / Utako.