FG strengthens security at airports as ISIS threat heightens

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*ISIS Fighters

The federal government has directed all the security agencies posted 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.

The order followed a report that Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have been sneaking battle-hardened jihadist from Syria into Nigeria to train terrorists for possible attacks in Britain.

The Sun of UK reports that fanatics from Nigeria are also being sent to the Middle East for training in a chilling “exchange programme.”

It is feared that links between Nigeria and the UK will make it easier for IS to send its killers here to bring more death and destruction.

According to reports, more than 150 British troops are conducting counter-terror training with Nigerian forces in an attempt to stem the bloody tide — and stop ISIS taking hold in the region.

At one training mission in the northern city of Kaduna, a senior Nigerian Air Force commander revealed Nigeria’s jihadist groups were learning from ISIS after swearing allegiance to its black flag.

Group Captain Isaac Subi, 46, who has been fighting terrorism across Africa since 1991, said: “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. They have this exchange programme of fighters.”

Their poisonous influence has already ended in horror attacks on British streets.

Fusilier Lee Rigby was stabbed to death in 2013 in London by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, both of Nigerian descent.

It is feared ISIS will exploit regular flights between Lagos and London to export more evil to the UK.

Group Capt. Subi said the lack of secure borders across Africa also makes it easy to spread the bloodshed.

He added: “There are hundreds of fighters. It’s a virus that spreads across our borders. Their action leaves trails of blood and tears and sorrow.”

Over the past four years, more than 20,000 people have been killed in Nigeria, mainly in the north east where a population of 900,000 is now dominated by up to 3,000 terrorists.

Another two million have fled the bloodshed. Captured men are made to fight for the fanatics and seized women are forced into marriages.

But one terror tactic unique to Nigeria is the barbaric use of children as young as five to carry out suicide bomb attacks.

Britain’s defence adviser in Abuja, Brigadier Charles Calder, said ISIS threat, if unchecked, could in time present a threat to both UK interests and conceivably the UK mainland.

Calder said sending small, hand-picked teams out to military training hubs across the country was the best way to prevent Nigeria collapsing.

Britain has so far trained 35,000 military personnel there and commanders say these are now performing better on the frontline.

And not waiting to be caught off guard, the Nigerian government has therefore strengthened security at the major airports across the country to forestall any ISIS threat.

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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