The police have deployed armed undercover operatives in Eid prayer grounds nationwide to frustrate plots by terrorists to attack the places of worship, where Muslim faithful will pray on Monday (today) to mark the Eid el Kabir.
The operatives, according to sources would complement the efforts of the regular personnel that would provide security at the prayer grounds.
It was learnt that the plain-clothes operatives would serve as a quick response force to foil any terrorist attempt at the places of worship.
The police and the Department of State Services had, on Wednesday, warned that extremists had planned to attack about 11 states in the country between Monday (today) and Tuesday.
A detachment of policemen at the Eid prayer ground along Airport Road, Abuja, on Sunday.
A source said, “The operation procedure for the Sallah involves the deployment of undercover operatives, who will blend with the Muslim faithful while on high alert to guard against any attack at the Eid grounds. Besides, personnel will also be deployed in all vulnerable and dark spots.
“We are not doing this alone; it is a joint operation with other sister security agencies to ensure a water-tight security cover during the celebration.”
Checks indicated that the various specialised units of the police, such as the Police Mobile Force, Counter-Terrorism Units and the Explosive Ordinance Department had been directed to take positions at the prayer grounds 24 hours to the Eid celebration.
The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had earlier directed command’s commissioners of police and zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police to deploy adequate personnel to cover all the Eid-el-Kabir prayer grounds, recreation centres, public places, public infrastructure and utilities, and other points and venues where the Eid celebrations would hold.
The Commissioner of Police in the Federal Capital Territory Command, Muhammad Mustafa, stated that he had ordered the massive deployment of plainclothes and uniformed police operatives around praying grounds, shopping malls, gardens, recreational spots, critical infrastructures, motor parks and other areas.
This arrangement, he said, also included the strategic deployment of personnel on foot and motorised patrols along all streets and major roads across the FCT.
Mustafa issued the directive during the command’s strategic operational meeting which was attended by heads of department, area commanders and divisional police officers.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Police Command has directed policemen in mufti to join Muslim faithful across the state at prayer grounds as parts of measures to forestall terror attacks and ensure hitch-free celebrations.
The command said it had deployed no fewer than 15,000 policemen for various security duties during the two-day Sallah holiday.
In a related development, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2 Command, Onikan, Lagos State, Abdulmajid Ali, said the command would deploy over 200 officers to complement the Lagos and Ogun states police commands on special duty for the Sallah.
He said, “As part of the responsibility of the Nigeria Police Force to protect lives and property and to maintain peace and order, I have met with the two commissioners of police under my zone on the need to put up anti-crime measures during the Eid-el-Kabir celebration.
“We will intensify patrols on the various Eid prayer grounds. We have also deployed over 200 personnel to augment the manpower of the commands.’’