The Department of State Security Services (SSS) said yesterday that it had apprehended a man who allegedly sent 486 travellers suspected to be Boko Haram members to Port-Harcourt, Rivers.
Ms Marilyn Ogar, Deputy Director, Public Relations Department of the SSS, disclosed this at a joint security briefing held at Emab plaza, the scene of a bomb blast that rocked Abuja on Wednesday.
Ogar said that the suspect was apprehended in Bauchi and would be taken to Abia.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the 486 travellers suspected to be members of the terrorists group, Boko Haram, were arrested in Abia on Sunday June 15.
“I want to seize this opportunity to say that the main man that sent the 486 travellers to Port-Harcourt was apprehended in Bauchi and we are taking him straight to Abia,’’ she said.
On the Emab Plaza bombing, Ogar said that the security agencies had pre-information of a planned attack at a busy shopping mall or market in Abuja.
She explained that the service deployed its men to comb the shopping complexes, and create awareness and took preventive measures when they got the information.
Ogar also said that among the steps taken was to prevent those who had no business within the shopping malls from entry.
“Everyday, the surveillance group will go round to the motor parks, supermarkets and markets trying to ensure that the instructions we left behind were adhered to.
“Yesterday, the surveillance team was at the plaza up till 12.30 p.m. observing and when they noticed that the security people on duty were actually enforcing our directives, they had to retreat,’’ she said.
Ogar stressed that the pro-active measures taken by the security assisted in preventing high casualty figure at the plaza.
“As you all know that when the man came, he tried to penetrate the main entrance but was refused.
“As it was typical of them (the terrorists) they would want to beat traffic or beat security to come in through the other entrance.
“In a forceful bid to enter the plaza, the explosion occurred,’’ she said.
She disclosed that among the injured at the incidence were two Turkish nationals.
Ogar appealed to Nigerians to continue to give information that would assist the security agencies to nip terrorism in the bud.
The Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Frank Mba, called for the institution of a very strict regime of access control in business places.
Mba said that it was the level of access control in the Emab Plaza that minimised the situation, noting that the terrorists did not find it easy to enter the complex.
“We want to encourage Nigerians, particularly managers of busy business malls, cinema houses and other big corporate entities that record a lot of visitors to help us by instituting a strong and strict access control regime,
“A strong, efficient and effective control, enough to serve as a deterrent to would be suicide bombers.
“Secondly, we want to encourage citizens, especially owners and managers of business malls to go a step further by installing CCTV cameras in their places of business.
“If we have cameras in places like this shopping mall, it will be of strong investigative value to security forces, as we commence investigations in to the incidence,’’ he said.
Mba also underscored the need for hawkers to be kept away from places like shopping malls and other big business places. (NAN)