Eternal vigilance – The Nation

  • With the reported arrest of some fleeing Boko Haram suspects in Lagos, only citizen vigilance can win the war against terror

Eternal vigilance, goes that saying, is the price of liberty. That holds even more true of the Boko Haram menace, even with the serious military degrading of the terrorist sect.

The Department of State Services (DSS) announced that it, on January 10, nabbed four fleeing Boko Haram cells in Lagos. Tony Opuiyo, DSS spokesperson, named the arrested suspects, three males, one female, as Fanayi Hassan, Butame Hassan, Kologoni Bukar and Amina Abubakar.

Mr. Opuiyo said the suspects had fled to Lagos, to escape the increasing military heat on the North East, hitherto the Boko Haram vortex.

On the same day, in Okene, Kogi State, the DSS also said it arrested one Abdullahi Mohammed, aka Huja, reported to be the boss of Boko Haram murderous operations in the Kogi sector, where its attacks were once most vicious, outside the North East.

Earlier on New Year’s Day 2017, the DSS also announced the arrest of the pair of Bale Grema and Koloni Adba-Aji, in a mosque at Mutum Biyu, in the Gassol Local Government of Taraba State.  They were said to have fled from Marte, from where they had participated in many terrorist operations.

The DSS dragnet, which has snared these suspected terrorists, has been impressive; and the secret police deserves the praise and gratitude of all. Logically, with every nabbed suspected terrorist, the war on terror would inch to being won. We can only encourage the DSS not to relent on its efforts until every terrorist in the land, complete with their sponsors, are where they belong: gaol.

Still, that Boko Haram cells are being arrested all over the country, outside the North East epicentre of their murderous campaign, is worrying. It is worrying because it shows how vulnerable other Nigerian communities are to the Boko Haram scourge, no matter how far — or protected — they might have felt, from the North East.

With the wrong-footing of Boko Haram in the battlefield, it is not impossible that some lunatics among them are thinking of one last hurrah, the very last Armageddon, a last vicious slaughter to ingrain Boko Haram’s hateful memory, in the psyche of the traumatised citizens.

That would be unfortunate and tragic. But it is not impossible. In any case, if the DSS can arrest four suspected Boko Haram cells in Lagos, how many are still running free  — in Lagos and throughout the country?

The only way to arrest those terrorists still on the run is an alert, active and patriotic citizenry, whose ears are open and eyes are glued to the ground, monitoring any strange development in their environs.

Not only that: they should also make the prompt reporting of such strange happenings to the authorities.

To those who gave information which led to the arrest of the Boko Haram cells, therefore, we say bravo. Such a conduct should continue until every suspected terrorist is nabbed.

It is only under the culture of prompt reporting to authorities that Boko Haram can finally be vanquished. This is because each DSS arrest is as good as its preceding intelligence.

Indeed, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

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