Ekhomu warns FG against credible ISIS threat
Security expert, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, has warned the Federal Government about a credible threat of ISIS attacks in the northeast and beyond, saying the terror group appears to have chosen Nigeria as its new operational base using its local franchisee, the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWA).
While reacting to the recent execution of kidnapped aid worker, Ms. Hauwa Liman, by the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWA), a Boko Haram splinter group, Ekhomu, in a statement by his aide, Tope Adesuyi, said that it appears ISWA leader, Abu Musab Al-Barnawi, has been replaced, as the killing of a Muslim female abductee was not something that Al-Barnawi would authorise.
“Al-Barnawi has consistently protected Muslim civilians from harm, so I can’t see him executing a hostage due to refusal by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) or the Federal Government to pay ransom. He must not be calling the shots anymore over there.”
Ekhomu, who is the president of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria, said ISWA under Barnawi was practising “benign jihad” in Borno State, as it protected citizens from other rampaging Boko Haram factions in the rural areas, adding: “The implication of Hauwa’s killing is that benign jihad has given way to malevolent Islamism.
“When one connects the dots, you will find that Nigeria may be moving into a new phase of the insurgency. It appears that ISIS may already be running operations through ISWA in our country.”
The security expert expressed disappointment that the Federal Government did not act expeditiously in negotiating with the kidnappers over Hauwa, warning that the last aid worker, Ms. Alice Loksha, and the remaining Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, must not be allowed to die in captivity, saying these incidences give the impression that the government does not care about its citizens.
He advised the Federal Government to draw up battle plans to combat ISIS in Nigeria and its goal must be to disallow ISIS from establishing a base in Nigeria, as it did in Iraq, Syria and Libya.
Ekhomu urged security and intelligence agencies in the Niger Delta to increase their vigilance and carefully and constantly analyse threats to the country’s oil assets, urging the Nigerian Navy to increase its maritime domain awareness to provide tight security in the littoral environment.