Boko Haram: Police makes u-turn, says no threat to ports

Apparently embarrassed by the security implication the report of a possible attack on seaports in Lagos by the dreaded Boko Haram sect may have on the nation, the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Western Ports Authority police command has disowned a statement credited to the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Administration ACP, Salem Machree that the sect could be planning to bomb Lagos.

Machree who represented the Police Commissioner, Mrs. Hilda Ibifuro-Harison at the inauguration of the new executives of the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) in Apapa on Wednesday had said that based on intelligence report received by the police three months ago, the deadly sect could be planning to bomb Lagos and possibly target the seaports.

“We are not taking the threat lightly at all and we encourage all stakeholders who visit the port to keep their eyes and ears open in case of the activity of the sect,” Machree had told the journalists.

He said as part of measures put in place to check the threat, the Police had beefed up security within and around Lagos including the port environment.

Machree said the Police would remain alert and vigilant in ensuring that the violent sect does not hit the ports.

But speaking to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY on Friday, Ibifuro-Harison disowned the statement. She said there had never been any intelligence report of possible attack in the port or on any of the port facilities under her command.

“It is not true and I am refuting that claim. There is no intelligence reports that say that. I have been meeting with stakeholders on how the port can be safe and I can tell you authoritatively that the port is safe and secured.”

“I was surprised when I read newspaper reports stating that there was an intelligence report of possible attack on port facilities. It is untrue and should not be held seriously.

“We have never received such report and we do not need to be told before we do the needful. Security is always at alert at the port and we will continue to place high priority in ensuring security at the port,” she said.

Also speaking on Friday, ACP Amachree said he regretted raising alarm of possible attack on the seaport.

Amachree stated that “any reference or mention of any challenges the nation is facing was only a call for vigilance and not to frighten anyone or raise any alarm.

“If anything said at the inauguration of MARAN executives is worth putting in print, it would have been sufficient to say that the representative of the commissioner of police congratulated the newly elected MARAN executives, expressed a willingness on the part of the police to cooperate with stakeholders and sister agencies and called for eternal vigilance at this troubled times and a readiness to share intelligence and information with appropriate authorities.

“I therefore reject any statement that tends to raise any alarm or sound as an invitation to trouble.”

Also speaking, the Divisional Police Officer of the Lagos Ports Complex (LPC), Mr. Akeem Smith said the Police at the ports had always been at alert and does not take anything for granted.

“There has never been any intelligence report as erroneously purported. No intelligence report on any group whatsoever planning to bomb or attack the ports or any of its facilities,” Smith stated. 

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