As Nigerians begin Christmas and New Year celebrations, security agencies have mapped out measures to protect lives and property nationwide.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Police, the Nigerian Navy, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have deployed their personnel to provide security to citizens at worship centres, motor parks, recreation centres, the Creeks, waterways and Shopping Malls, among others, during the period.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, had directed all Zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Command Commissioners of Police to ensure adequate security for travelers, picnickers, among others, across the country, before, during and after the celebrations.
According to a statement issued by the Force Spokesman, Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP Olabisi Kolawole, the IGP also directed Command Commissioners of Police to “personally’’ ensure that worship centres, recreation centres, motor parks and shopping malls, among others, were adequately and effectively protected.
It said Arase warned all citizens to be vigilant while receiving gifts from unknown persons that may pose as friends during the season, to avoid explosive-laden hampers as gifts.
The Nigerian Navy, too, said in Port Harcourt that it had ordered deployment of troops to strategic locations in the creeks and waterways to enable people travel freely.
Rear Adm. Atiku Abdulkadir, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Eastern Naval Command, told NAN that the deployment was to ensure safety of travelers before, during and after the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
“We have ordered our Commanders of the naval bases and Commanding Officers of Forward Operating Bases to deploy patrol boats in the creeks and waterways.
“We have also deployed ships at mouth of the channel to ensure more presence on sea at waterways.
“The navy is also partnering with communities to get information on potential suspects or those who are intending to perpetrate criminality in their area.
“All these activities are to ensure that our people enjoy their Christmas and New Year celebrations without fear of being molested by hoodlums,” he said.
Abdulkadir also said that the Navy was currently collaborating with the Operation Pulo Shield and the police to ensure a hitch-free festive season.
The flag officer called on people to corporate with naval personnel while traveling on creeks and waterways.
In Cross River also, the Commander of 13 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Calabar, Brig.-Gen. Sani Mohammed, said he had deployed his men to strategic areas in the state to provide security.
According to Mohammed, the joint task force in the state has witnessed a tremendous achievement with the presence of Army personnel.
“We are in Christmas period and it is our responsibility to provide security for the people of Cross River and tourists.
“Giving the hospitable nature of Calabar people, the number of tourists keeps increasing because of the carnival, so we are working in collaboration with other security agencies to ensure a peaceful celebration.
“We will continue to carry out security functions at all time and to ensure that the state is peaceful,’’ he said.
Similarly, the Police Commissioner in Cross River, Mr. Henry Fadairo, said that the state Police Command had launched an offensive against cultism and other criminal activities in the state.
Fadairo said that the campaign was launched with a view to ensure a hitch- free Christmas celebration in the state.
According to him, the operation will last up to and even after the New Year celebrations.
“We have enough security men that would ensure a hitch-free Christmas and New Year celebrations in the state.
“Cross River is a peaceful state and I can tell you that there is low rate of criminal activities here.
“We will continue to discharge our professional duties to ensure that anyone who engages in any criminal activities is caught and dealt with,’’ he said.
Fadairo also said that the command had deployed police personnel to festive areas in the state such as the Calabar Carnival, Christmas Village, Calabar Municipality ground, the museum and others.
In the same vein, the Cross River Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), said it had deployed its intelligence and uniform personnel to strategic locations in the state to provide adequate security during the yuletide.
Mr Solomon Eremi, NSCDC Public Relations Officer in the state, told NAN that officers and men of the Corps were up and doing to ensure that the Christmas and New Year celebrations were hitch-free.
“The Command has deployed intelligence and uniform officers to different locations of the state to ensure peaceful Christmas and New Year celebrations in the state.
“One of the objectives of the corps is to protect lives and property of the civil populace.
“I want to assure the peace-loving people of Cross River and tourists that the state Command of the NSCDC is on alert to respond to all security challenges within this carnival period and beyond,’’ Eremi said.
He advised the people of the state and tourists to be law abiding, adding that the corps was a friendly force.
Similarly, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 6, Calabar,Mr Baba Bolanta, has warned trouble makers to steer clear of the buffer zone on the border between Cross River and Ebonyi.
The buffer zone was created by the Federal Government at Adadama in Cross River and Amagu Ikwo in Ebonyi against intrusion on the border between the two States.
It was also meant to forestall hostilities in the lingering bloody clashes over farmland by the two neighbouring communities.
Bolanta said that police helicopters had been deployed around the buffer zone for security surveillance.
He said that the police was increasingly collaborating with other security agencies for effective crime control within the zone which comprises Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi and Rivers.
“Another strategy we have put in place is to increase our collaboration with other security agencies like the military, Department of Security Service (DSS), the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), among others.
“We are doing intelligence policing where communities are brought into partner with us.
“Traditional institutions, Church leaders, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and all other allied unions are involved,” he said.
Bolanta also said that the ban on fireworks and unpermitted/unlawful procession during the yuletide was in force.
He said that police personnel were also on ground to thwart any untoward occurrence before, during and after the Calabar carnival.
And in Akwa Ibom, the state Command Police Command has also assured of adequate security of all visitors, residents and holiday makers during the yuletide.
The Public Relations Officer of the command, ASP Cordelia Nwawe, told NAN in Uyo that the police would be on surveillance and patrol for 24 hours at strategic places to nib all criminality in the bud.
She urged residents of the state and visitors to make use of the emergency phone numbers as advertised in the police official leaflets to give useful information for prompt action.
“We understand that ember months are usually very troublesome period.
This yuletide, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Murtala Mani, has alerted all officers and men that they must be on a 24-hour alert and put the security of the state on top priority,” Nwawe said.
Nwawe said that during the festive period, the police would be at all strategic places in the state to secure lives and property.
She said that the command had done enough awareness campaign through radio, television, flyers and leaflets on personal security by members of the public.
The Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in the state, Mr Emmanuel Ojeniyi, said his men would be on patrol in all the 31 local government areas of the state to ensure adequate protection of lives and property.
He advised people to maintain peace among themselves, adding that without peace there would be no development.
He said that undercover officers and men of the command would be at areas like motor parks, relaxation centres and shopping complex to ensure smooth and peaceful celebration.
“What we are doing now is just to make sure that we go to areas like parks and relaxation centres where people gather in order to protect them.
And in Kano State, the Police in the area have intensified patrol within and outside Kano metropolis to ensure security of lives and property during the Yuletide.
The Public Relations Officer of the command, ASP Magaji Majiya, said the Commissioner of Police, Mr Muhammad Katsina, had directed that the patrol should also cover all the highways in the state.
Majiya said the commissioner also directed that the exercise be a continuous one.
“The State Police Commissioner, Mr Muhammad Katsina, has directed that patrol within the metropolis and on our highways should continue on daily basis.
“This is necessary in order to ensure that vehicles plying the roads or coming in and going out of the state do so without any fear,” he said.
The Police Spokesman said the command would also deploy security personnel to all strategic places such as Mosques, Churches and recreational centres to provide security during the festive period.
“We have made arrangements to deploy plain cloth security operatives at all the strategic places with a view to ensuring effective surveillance at the places,” he said.
In the same vein, the Katsina State Police Command has set-up a quick response squad (QRS) in order to deal with any breach of the peace during the festive season.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the command, ASP Aminu Sadiq, who disclosed this, called on the people of the state to go about their lawful business and report any suspicious movement to the nearest Police Station.
Also in Anambra, the Police Commissioner in the state, Mr Hosea Karma, has reassured the people of the state that the command would mount security checks in all “flash points’’ in the state to ensure peaceful Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Karma also urged the people to be vigilant before, during and after the festivities and report any suspicious movements to the nearest police station.