The Nigerian Armed Forces on Thursday allayed fears of Nigerians over alleged plans by Al-Qaeda and Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) to make an inroad into Southern Nigeria and penetrate the Northwest part of the country.
Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, told journalists in Abuja that there was nothing to fear about the claim.
General Dagvin Anderson, Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, Africa, said during a digital briefing on Wednesday that Al-Qaeda and ISIS were looking to make an inroad into Southern Nigeria and that Al-Qaeda had started penetrating the Northwest region of the country.
But General Enenche said that the claim was nothing but an alarm and that Nigerian security agencies were equal to the task, urging the pubic not be afraid of such claim.
The Defence Spokesperson described the statement as a wakeup call or form of advice, said that the security agencies were on top of the situation.
“On the issue that terrorists from other zones are coming to the country, I think it will be good for us to be keeping records as events are unfolding. For me, this is not the first time they are raising such an alarm. It’s as good as may be five or ten years ago, and the armed forces and the country are conscious of it.
“When the conflict in Libya was declared ended and which actually was not, what happened? It was we, our NIA and the SSS that said these people were moving which is true. Have we not captured foreigners that have been terrorising us in this country? So it is just a piece of advice or call that you still keep doing what you are doing, of which I can assure the general public that the security agencies are on top of that,” he said.
General Enenche said that the military in their recent exploits in Niger State who had captured some foreigners who came from neighbouring countries.
“Where are they coming from? Why do we have ISWAP here now? Or is ISWAP indigenous from Nigeria? No. So, it is telling you the obvious and I want to tell you that look, continue to ensure that you have measures in place to continue taming them.
“I read the details of the presentation. It was not accusing. It was not specific. It is like saying you people should put efforts to continue to contain them. Because when pressure is on them from other climes, they will still continue to increase their influx,” he said.
Eneche also said that the military was winning the battle against terrorism in the country, adding that huge successes had been recorded.
He added that while the people outside there do expectation analysis, the military do operational analysis based on the direction of operation.
According to him, “what has flattened it is that you will discover that from March up till now, it is offensive, offensive with sacrifices made on the part of the military. Yes, of course, we lost some people but the gains have outweighed what we lost, which is what we signed for. So, what you have seen is success and it will continue to improve.
“This is because, as it is now, we have been given marching orders again. All we need to do is to go and dig up where we have our contingencies because by our training, we are trained to face challenges,” he said.
Enenche explained that “the terrorists had been decimated seriously,” adding that there was leadership problem in the enemy camp at present.
According to him, “the air and artillery bombardment conducted have decimated them and this is going to dovetail into all the other major aspects of the initial strategies of the Northeast, which is domination and occupation. And we are getting there.”