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ISIS threat: FG directs security agencies to heighten surveillance at airports

FOLLOWING reports that Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) allegedly sneaking battle-hardened jihadists from Syria into Nigeria to train, Federal government has directed all security agencies dispatched to the airports to immediately embark on rigorous vetting of airlines’ personnel and screening of passengers as well as increase vigilance on restricted areas at all Nigerian airports.

According to the Sun of UK, fanatics from Nigeria are also being sent to the Middle East for training in what the paper describes as a chilling ‘exchange programme’ expressing fears that links between Nigeria and the UK will make it easier for IS to send its killers here to bring more death and destruction.

A letter from the Office of the secretary to the government of the federation, with the reference number, H.150/S.91/56, dated May 25, 2018, directed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to beef up security at the nation’s airports.

Titled ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Threatens to Attack Commercial Flights,’ the letter was signed by one O.M. Olaoye for the secretary to the government of the federation.

The letter states that the Al-Abd al-Faqir Media, a pro-Islamic arm of ISIS had issued the threat against Nigeria in April.

In the letter, the federal government said ISIS warning was issued in English, French, and Arabic and distributed by telegram and other online fora by the terrorist group.

The government said the threat was followed by an image of a clean-shaven ark-haired white man sitting on the aisle seat of a flight with a knife in his hand.

The letter stated that ISIS had claimed responsibility for the explosion and death of all 244 passengers aboard the Russian Metrojet flight 9268 shortly after take-off from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in October, 2015 and warned the three agencies not to take the threat with levity.

It added that the warning of April 26 followed a similar warning earlier by ISIS spokesman, Abu Hassan Al-Muhajir, on April 22, 2018, outlining the next stage in the global jihad.

The letter explained that although Africa appeared not to be on ISIS immediate focus, but it noted that the return to Africa of former ISIS fighters from Iraq and Syria, as well as the existence of ISIS-linked groups such as the technically suave Abu Musab Al-Barnawi-led Boko Haram faction, called for increased vigilance in the aviation sector to counter possible new strategies in the terror campaign.

“From the foregoing report, rigorous vetting of airline personnel and screening of passengers as well as increased vigilance on restricted areas at airport are advised,” government said.

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