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U.S., UK terror alerts: Those arrested will be prosecuted, says IG

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Agency Report

Suspected terrorists arrested in connection with the plan to attack the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are to be prosecuted soon, Police Inspector-General Usman Alkali has assured.

Alkali at the 57th weekly ministerial briefing by the Presidential Communication Team in Abuja yesterday, gave reasons why security agencies engage terrorists and kidnappers in negotiation for the release of victims.

He fielded questions from reporters on the recent alerts by some foreign countries, including the United States (U.S) and the United Kingdom(U.K), to their citizens on plots by terrorists to wreak havoc on some public places and offices in Abuja and other parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

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The Police chief also spoke on some rescued Chibok girls, the need for politicians to avoid violence during campaigns, misuse of local security operatives by state governments, and the attachment of policemen to Very Important Personalities (VIPs).

On the U.S. and UK terror alerts, Usman dismissed insinuations that the Federal Government tried to wave them off.

He, however, explained that the government was concerned because the alerts made residents of the FCT and neighboring states apprehensive.

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The Police chief, who noted that it was not out of place for embassies to issue such alerts to their citizens, said:” Government has never dismissed an alert, but we only said it was made in such a way that our people became apprehensive.

”The embassies have their own responsibilities to their citizens and they can give their advice. The government did not dismiss the alerts because they also informed us that they foresaw threats.

“On our part, we have also looked at what they put as threats as something that has been with us. Efforts are being made daily to see that those threats are mitigated or prevented from happening. That is what has been happening in Abuja and other parts of the country.

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”Arrests have been made as at when due. Those arrested will be charged to court by any of the services which have them.”

He added, however, that security agencies have restored confidence and hope among FCT residents.

Usman also explained that security operatives had to negotiate with kidnappers to avoid harm being done to kidnapped persons.

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He mentioned the release of the abducted forestry students in Kaduna and the last batch of the Kaduna train passengers as examples of cases that negotiations were deployed.

The Police helmsman, who described the kidnapping as a new crime in Nigeria, however, said that efforts were being made to have policemen undergo training on how to better approach rescue efforts.

He said: “The issue of kidnapping is an issue that borders almost all the security agents, including the military. It is a crime that once it is committed, you have to thread very softly and with all sense of professionalism.

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”If you do not rescue the person unhurt, you have not achieved anything. Once somebody is in the captivity of an armed person, then you need to do a lot of things, it is not all about guns and other things.

”There are a lot of other things that can be done. We were able to rescue the whole forestry students in Kaduna through negotiation.

“It (kidnapping) is a new crime that requires new ways of approaching it. Clearly it is under study. For instance, the issue of train negotiators and so forth were not an issue before, but now, we are looking into it and we are putting our personnel to undergo such training and courses.”

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*” Rescued Chibok girls interested in returning to terrorists”

The IGP also made a stunning revelation on the Chibok girls who were rescued while wandering in the forests.

According to him, some of them who had been put in a family way made moves to return to their captors.

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“You know some of the Chibok girls have been coming out one after another. Sometimes, they say ‘we have come to see our parents and we want to go back.’

“Those are the ones that have been assimilated or had acclimatised with their situation. They had been indoctrinated and had become part and parcel of those who abducted them. Last month, you saw a Chibok girl with two or three kids who said she only came to greet her parents and to go back.”

*Avoid violence, Police chief tells politicians, supporters

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Alkali advised politicians and their supporters to avoid actions that could cause a breakdown of law and order during their campaigns.

He made specific reference to the reported attack on the supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in Maiduguri, Borno State on Wednesday.

He said that a holistic assessment of the incident would be carried out to ascertain the true picture and prevent a reoccurrence.

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His words: “We have gone out to appeal to politicians to play the game by the rules. And at the same time allow us to regulate political processions, campaigns, and rallies, to avoid clashes and so forth.”

Alkali also frowned at the use of local security outfits like Ebubeagu in Ebonyi State to oppress opposition party members.

“On the day of the signing of the peace accord by political parties, I observed that we have no less than 64 security outfits that have been created by different state governors for different purposes.

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“We have told them that they are not to be used for politicking or to be used for political reasons.

Ebubuagu in Ebonyi, we have on many occasions, checked their highhandedness by arresting and investigating those who have actually gone out of their way to commit crimes and we have charged them to court.

“If we can charge our personnel for highhandedness and other activities, there is nobody who is going to be exempted.”

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•Why VIPs security personnel won’t be withdrawn

The IGP said he was against the withdrawal of security personnel attached to prominent persons because of risks.

“On the issue of security personnel being attached to VIPs to be withdrawn, for every rule there are exemptions. These people need to be protected but we try to do it with all sense of humility. VIPs need to be protected because some people if left unattended, can be an easy target and we will make too much noise,” he said.

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*Show no mercy to terrorists’

Meanwhile, Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Oladayo Amao has tasked the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) operational commanders to sustain the bombardment of terrorists’ strongholds in the North.

He urged the commanders not to lower the current momentum or show mercy to the terrorists causing mayhem in the Northeast and Northwest.

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Amao also charged them “to take cognisance of the dynamism and complexities of the ever-changing security environment while adopting the best strategies required to promote NAF’s retention of credible air power capability to prosecute its operations.”

A statement by NAF spokesman, Edward Gabkwet, said that the Air Chief spoke at a meeting with the commanders in Katsina State yesterday.

The statement reads in part: “The deployment of air power against terrorists and insurgents has changed the tides of the ongoing operations in entire northern Nigeria thereby giving most Nigerians some respite and confidence in the abilities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

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“We mustn’t, however, be complacent believing that the enemy has been defeated. Instead, we must continue to seize the initiative while dictating the pace of the operations.”

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