The Federal Government on Thursday warned that the insurgent group, Boko Haram, may have started recruiting and training fighters.
Coordinator of the National Information Centre on the war against terrorism and Director-General of the National Orientation Agency, Mr. Mike Omeri, raised the alarm at a press briefing in Abuja, citing intelligence reports.
Omeri said, “In the general effort to contain acts of insurgency in the North East and secure the entire area for the forthcoming general elections, the centre wishes to alert the general public on very recent intelligence reports which indicated a considerable movement of Boko Haram recruits from such locations as Geidam, Mairi and Dupcha (all in Borno State) to training camps within the general area.
“Previous major attacks by insurgents, including the siege on Bama and Monguno military bases, were preceded by such massing up of fighters in training camps within the proposed targets.
“This recent development, which points in the same direction, has also been alluded to by the Boko Haram group in its recent boast about having a 30,000 – 50,000-strong force to disrupt elections in Maiduguri”.
Omeri, however, said the Nigerian military forces have equally being fully mobilised and deployed against the insurgents whom he claimed were being chased and roundly subdued.
The NIC spokesman added, “Therefore, we urge the general public to exercise a high level of vigilance and also support the effort of the military to ensure hitch-free elections and a return to normalcy in the general area, soonest.
“We also seize this opportunity to restate government’s commitment to keeping the country and her citizens safe from those who seek to destroy the nation”.
Omeri also used the opportunity to call on the civil society, politicians and everybody to avoid disruptive and inciting statements and assured the general public of regular update on the successes recorded by the military and security forces in the fight against terror in the North East.
In addition, security emergency numbers were released by the office of the National Security Adviser for use by residents of North Eastern Nigeria.
The telephone lines, he said would enable members of the public lay complaints and report any security breach and other related issues for prompt intervention by the appropriate quarters.
The New Crisis Centre Telephone numbers are: 07057274630, 07057276432, 07057254633,07057254634, 09096223788, 09096223816 and 096303517.
Others are: 096303520, 096303522, 096303523, 096303525. Short messages can also be sent to a Crisis Centre U-Report SMS line; 20544