The Presidency has put its agencies, especially those that operate at airports, on alert over planned Islamic State attacks on commercial airplanes.
The alert comes as the UK Sun is reporting ISIS is sneaking battle-hardened extremists from Syria into Nigeria.
In a memo from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), the agencies at the airports were given a comprehensive brief of the unfolding drama in the Middle East and the ISIS plan.
Already, the Customs Service, has directed its officers at airports to “intensify the screening process of ALL passengers and luggage including other measure (they) deem fit to forestall any potential security breach as directed.”
In its directive dated 13th June, 2018, and signed on behalf of the Customs boss, Hameed Ali, by an Assistant Comptroller General, Mr. K. C. Ekekezie, the Customs urged its staff to treat the marching orders as urgent.
The SGF brief circulated to select agencies, and available to Everyday.ng, reads in full: “Available report reveals that Al-Abd al-Faqir Media, a pro Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) media outlet, on 26th April, 2018, warned that ISIS plans to attack commercial flights and bring “bloodshed to the skies”.
“The warning, which was issued in English, French, and Arabic was distributed by Telegram and other online fora and was accompanied by an image of a clean-shaven dark-haired white man sitting on the aisle seat of a flight with a knife in his hand.
“Statements from ISIS affiliated media groups such as Al-Abd al-Faqir media are often used to advise followers on new attack methods and targets. The image of a white man with knife in his hand suggest that the attack could be carried out with a knife as was the case during the 9/11 attacks in the US in 2001.
“It would be recalled that ISIS claimed responsibility for the explosion and death of all two hundred and twenty four (224) passengers aboard the Russian Metrojet flight 9268 shortly after take-off from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in October, 2015.
“The Al-Abd al-Faqir Media warning of 26th April, 2018 followed a similar statement earlier by ISIS spokesman, Abu Hassan Al-Muhajir, on 22nd April, 2018, outlining the next stage in the global jihad. Al-Muhajir had criticized “apostate governments” in Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Iran, and Palestine, as well as the Taliban in Afghanistan, reiterating that holy war was the “only way forward”.
“The ISIS appears to be re-strategizing with more focus on the Middle East and Asia, following the loss of most of its territory in Iraq and Syria. Although Africa appears not to be on ISIS immediate focus, the return to Africa of former ISIS fighters from Iraq and Syria as well as the existence of ISIS-Iinked groups such as the technically suave Abu Musab Al-Barnawiled Boko Haram faction call for increased vigilance in the aviation sector, to counter possible new strategies in the ISIS 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.”
Meanwhile TheCable reports this Monday that leaders of Islamic State (IS ) are sneaking battle-hardened extremists from Syria into Nigeria, according to UK Sun.
It adds: Some of the fighters are reportedly sent to the Middle East for training in a “chilling exchange programme”.
The tabloid said the insurgents are trained for possible attacks in Britain.
The report quoted sources as saying the strong links between Nigeria and the UK will make it easier for IS to send its killers to Britain.
“It is feared IS will exploit regular flights between Lagos and London to export more evil to the UK,” the report read.
Isaac Subi, a group captain, who has been fighting terrorism, said IS has an exchange programme of fighters.
“They come and train their fighters here and some of our insurgents too are granted access to their training in Yemen and Syria, acquiring those skills and they come back and teach others,” he said.
“They have their exchange programme of fighters. Their poisonous attack has already ended in horror attacks on British streets.”
Subi added that the lack of secure borders across Africa also makes it easy to spread the bloodshed.
“There are hundreds of fighters. It’s a virus that spreads across our borders. Their action leaves trails of blood and tears and sorrow,” he added.
Calder: Sending small, handpicked teams out to military training hubs across the country is the best way to prevent Nigeria from collapsing
UK Sun said at least 150 British troops are conducting counter-terror training with Nigerian forces in an attempt to stem the bloody tide, and stop IS taking hold in the region.
Charles Calder, Britain’s defense adviser in Abuja, said ISIS could be a threat to the UK mainland if unchecked.
“In time, unchecked, it could present a threat to both UK interests and conceivably the UK mainland,” Calder said.
“Sending small, handpicked teams out to military training hubs across the country was the best way to prevent Nigeria from collapsing.
“Brits has so far trained 35,000 military personnel in Nigeria and commanders say they are now performing better on the frontline.
“The UK has teams training Nigeria’s air force, army , naval special forces and the equivalent of the SAS.”
In 2016, a faction split from Boko Haram, swore allegiance to IS and rebranded itself Islamic State in West Africa.
TheCable could not reach the military for comments as the telephone of Texas Chukwu, army spokesman, was not available as of the time this report was filed.