Following the declaration of a state of emergency in
Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states, some members of
the fundamentalist Boko Haram sect have started
fleeing to neighbouring Gombe, Bauchi and Jigawa
states, SUNDAY PUNCH authoritatively reports.
On Thursday, members of the sect attacked two
police stations and four banks in Daura, Katsina
It was the first time the sect was carrying out attacks
President Goodluck Jonathan placed the three states
under emergency rule following unabated bloodbath
and bomb attacks which have left hundreds of people
and security officials dead.
Security sources confided in our correspondents on
Friday that following the increased pressure by the
military, some of the insurgents have started
sneaking out of the states.
A top military official who pleaded anonymity
because he was not authorised to speak on the
matter said, "All the states are under intense military
surveillance and we are ensuring that no one sneaks
out but the insurgents have some secret routes
which we are going to block. They will use these
secret routes to sneak out because of the heat on
them. Ordinarily, they will want to protect their
wives, children and the weak among them."
One of the soldiers deployed in Maiduguri, the Borno
State capital, also told one of our correspondents that
some of the insurgents are fleeing the state to
The solider who pleaded anonymity because of the
sensitivity of the matter said, "We have reports that
they are running away to neigbouring states and
even neighbouring countries. We are doing our best
to ensure that all escape routes are blocked."
According to the soldier, several residents of
Gamboru, Ngala, and Marte, where the sect hoisted
its flags are fleeing the area because of heavy
A security expert and former State Security Service
director, Mr. Mike Ejiojor, told SUNDAY PUNCH that it
was possible that members of the Boko Haram sect
would attempt to escape to states near Borno, Yobe
"Preventing them from migrating to neighbouring
states is the essence of the state of emergency in the
three affected states. We hope that it won't be easy
for them to migrate to other states especially if they
have cells there," he said.
Another security expert, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, told one of
our correspondents that there was a possibility that
members of the sect that had fled the states, could
regroup to launch massive attacks on the states
under emergency rule.
Ekhomu, who is the President, Association of
Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria,
said such a development could lead to having more
states on the list of those under emergency rule.
He said, "They will continue to launch attacks, it is
not without doubt. Don't forget that apart from the
affected states, other states have some Boko Haram
presence, so they may regroup. The military must
ensure that they don't escape from the states.
"The military should use a lot of tactics to freeze the
bad guys (Boko Haram). The essence of conducting
the military operation in the North-East is to flush out
or capture the Boko Haram elements. If they get
away, then the purpose of the exercise is defeated."
He added that members of the sect might wear
military uniforms to disguise as they were becoming
more adaptive. According to him, it would become
difficult to differentiate between a genuine military
officer and a Boko Haram member in military
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Immigration Service has
deported 31,822 illegal immigrants from the country
in the first five months of the year.
The Public Relations Officer of NIS, Mr. Ekpedeme
King, told SUNDAY PUNCH, that the figure
represented the total number of immigrants arrested
without proper documentation in different parts of
"According to our records, from January this year to
the first week of May, the Nigerian Immigration
Service arrested and repatriated 31,822 illegal
immigrants. I know there is the temptation to link
the number to the security situation in the country
and the Boko Haram insurgency. But this is the total
number of illegal immigrants we have repatriated so
far this year, as part of our duties to ensure that
every foreigner in the country has adequate
documentation," he said.
Findings showed that most of the deportees were
nationals of Niger, Mali and Cameroun, while a small
number from other West African countries like Ghana
and Benin Republic.
Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro, who confirmed
this development, said the illegal aliens came into
the country through the many porous border inlets,
adding that to fight terrorism in the country, it was
necessary to "throw them out."
Moro explained that the deportation was part of the
measures adopted by government to check the
incursion of strangers into the nation and to further
contain the security threat posed by Boko Haram.
According to him, it will cost about N500m to provide
the manpower and gadgets needed at the borders.
He said, "Manning our international borders
effectively to check illegal entry of persons is almost
impossible in the nation today. We have to admit the
fact that we don't have enough manpower and
equipment to have real control of the situation.
"And I admit to you that prior to the present situation
we face, it used to be worse. We used to take so
many things for granted until we came to the point of
this daring and dire security challenge.
"Part of the measures to succeed in the task had led
us to getting into partnership with the American
government to procure advanced surveillance
equipment for better border security. The illegal
immigrants were sent out of the country by the
appropriate authorities under the ministry."
In a related development, Amnesty International has
called on security forces to adhere to international
human rights standards and the rule of law.
It said it would continue to document human rights
abuses by the security forces and Boko Haram, and
the dire situation of the people trapped in the
It stated, "We will continue to call on the Nigeria
government to take action to protect the population.
Nigeria must adopt measures that prevent,
investigate and prosecute attacks by Boko Haram,
while fully respecting and ensuring human rights in
accordance with Nigeria's international obligations
and commitments. The population will not be truly
secure until everyone in Nigeria can be confident not
only that the risk of attacks from Boko Haram has
been reduced, but also that they will not face human
rights violations at the hands of the very state
security forces mandated with their protection.
"Unfortunately, at the moment in Nigeria we have a
situation where the military are behaving like they
are above the law – like they don't have to respect
the rule of law. So, in some respects, the issue is not
so much which law the military are operating under,
although it is vitally important that the law complies
with international human rights law and standards."