Forty-one-year-old Enoch Obemeasor is more alert this week on his daily two-hour commute from his home in Tafa village, Niger state, to the Nigerian capital for his printing business.
Niger state authorities on Monday said Boko Haram militants attacked the town of Kaure, abducted women, sent thousands fleeing, and hoisted their flag.
Obemeasor said the security threat means it’s not safe to drive at night.
“Once it’s five o’clock, I leave here,” Obemeasor said. “Now we’re trying to see how we can arrange ourselves to form vigilante (group) to protect ourselves, because this is not funny.
Niger state governor Abubakar Bello said at least 3,000 locals fled Kaure when the Islamists attacked and abducted an unknown number of women.
Speaking on Lagos-based Channels Television, Bello said Boko Haram’s presence in Niger state is a threat to the capital.
“I’ve been engaging the federal government and unfortunately it has now gotten to this state that if care is not taken, not even Abuja is safe.” Bello said. ” Kaure is less than two hours’ drive to Abuja. So, nobody’s safe anymore.”
Nigerian military authorities denied the claim that Boko Haram had taken any territory and assured that Abuja residents are safe.
Abuja Commissioner of Police Bala Ciroma this week ordered stepped-up security patrols around Abuja’s schools.
Armed groups in northern Nigeria have carried out a series of attacks on schools since December, kidnapping more than 700 students, according to the U.N. children’s agency (UNICEF).
But authorities believe most of the attacks were by criminal groups looking for ransom – not Boko Haram, which usually operates in northeast Nigeria.
But Beacon Security analyst Kabiru Adamu said the militants could grow the area of their attacks if not soon stopped.
“Unfortunately, it’s something that may expend as we go further, except if Nigeria’s counterterrorism strategists are able to prevent that expansion,” Adamu said.
Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) militants on Sunday attacked a Nigerian military base in Mainok, in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, killing at least 30 troops.
ISWAP, a regional offshoot of Islamic State, broke away from Boko Haram several years ago to carry out its own attacks on Nigeria’s military and civilians.
Source: Voice of America