… Be prepared, US warns Nigeria

It is now clear that Nigerians born in the South may have to step up their state of vigilance in order to avert a wave of insurgency which may prove devastating.

Reports indicate that the dreaded Islamic group, Boko Haram and their allies are planning to infiltrate Southern Nigeria.

The United States which is collaborating with the Nigerian authorities in tackling insecurity within the country’s borders and Africa has shared intelligence considered vital.

The Americans whose intelligence gathering activities is spread through out the world are warning that Southern Nigeria as well as the North West are under serious threat of destabilization.

American intelligence is pointing accusing fingers at Islamic states such as Iraq and Syria, saying the clandestine plot against Southern Nigeria is to be spearheaded by Al- Qeada and ISIS.

ISIS has strong operational bases in Syria while Al – Qeada has firm roots in Iraq.

Why Nigeria is being targeted by jihadist forces that are apparently poised to rewrite world history through violence remains a puzzle.

From independence in 1960, Nigeria has maintained a posture of a non – secular state. That system which has provided a fragile foundation for national unity is currently under threat.

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The Commander of the US Special Operations Command, Africa, Dagvin Anderson is quoted as saying that Al-Qaeda is also expanding to other West African countries.

He disclosed that Al-Qaeda fighters are pouring into the North West in preparation for an onslaught against defenseless citizens and Nigeria’s defense forces.

Anderson said the United States is engaging with Nigeria and will continue to partner with the government, particularly in sharing intelligence.

The Commander of US, operations, in Africa stressed that intelligence sharing is very significant.

He assured that the United States would remain committed to its support for the Nigerian government, stating that it would provide the nation with a proper understanding of what Boko Haram and ISIS are doing, and how they are planning to gain excess to southern Nigeria.

The threat targeted at Southern Nigeria is coming as separatists in the South East believed to be members of IPOB step up attacks against law enforcement agencies in the region.

And the Yoruba states in the South West grapple with efforts to keep intruders believed to be armed herders of Fulani extraction out of the region.

With the South East embroiled in a crisis steam-rolled by IPOB and MASSOB, which may be enjoying covert British support, identifying Al-Oeada and ISIS fighters might prove difficult for Nigeria’s security agencies that are determined to ensure the unity of the country.

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Will the Biafrans back down now that an external threat which may destabilize the South East and the South South lurks around the corner?

The Rivers State which is stepping up security to protect its boundaries has said it would not allow infiltrators to disturb the peace, adding that the Rivers people would have nothing to do with separatist movements that are bent on disrupting the unity of the country.

The mood in Rivers State appears to reflect the position of other states in the South South geopolitical region.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has begun the hunt for, and prosecution of, persons who are emerging as sponsors of terrorism.

They include Bureau De Change operators and other high profile Nigerians who are financiers of terror.

It is obvious that terrorism and the fight against it in Nigeria, is likely to enter another phase, if utmost care is not taken to nip threats to national security in the bud.

To survive, Nigeria would have to take drastic steps, which includes carrying the war straight to terrorists and their Nigerian sponsors.

There may be international support waiting to come to life, but as Anderson clearly stated, Nigeria must be in the forefront of the fight before that happens.

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Will the Nigerian authorities rise to the occasion? Does the Nigerian government have the will?

Events that will play out in the days and weeks to come may well provide answers to questions that are troubling ordinary Nigerians who may be victims of a backlash if the fight against terrorism turns sour.