The State Security Service, SSS, announced on Friday that it arrested suspected terrorists planning to attack Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna and Maiduguri during the Sallah celebration.
The federal government had earlier declared Monday and Tuesday next week as public holidays for the Islamic festival.
In a statement on Friday signed by Tony Opuiyo, the SSS said, “The past few weeks, this service has uncovered a sinister plot by terrorist elements to stage series of coordinated attacks using explosives on different cities across the country.”
Two suspects, Yusuf Adamu and Abdumuminu Haladu, were apprehended by the domestic intelligence agency during the early hours of Friday in Sokoto.
According to the statement, Mr. Adamu and his accomplice were to command the operation in Kano.
“However, the Service had earlier arrested the facilitator of the Kano attack, an explosive expert by name Bashir Mohammed at Unguwar Barnawa, Shekar Madaki, Kumbatso LGA, Kano State on June 20”.
“Their plan, together with others now at large, was to assemble the explosives and use them on select targets during the Eid-el-Fitr Celebrations”.
“Their aim was to hit on soft targets such as markets, public parks, public processions, recreation centres, as well as worship centres especially the Eid Praying Grounds and other densely populated areas during the forthcoming Eid-el-Fitr Sallah celebration. The latest plan by the terrorists was to unleash mayhem on Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna and Maiduguri,” the agency said.
However, the service assured Nigerians that the planned terrorist attacks in the states have been foiled by the agency.
The agency said during the arrest of Mr. Mohammed in Kumbotso, Kano, a search was conducted at his residence where it recovered “Eight (8) AK-47 rifles, Twenty (20) fully loaded AK-A7 magazines, Twenty-seven (27) hand grenades, Seven hundred and ninety-three (793) rounds of live ammunition.”
One gas cylinder, three laptops, one mobile phone, a motorcycle, a car, and a printer were also recovered.
The SSS also said it uncovered plans by the terrorists to infiltrate the ranks of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, which has been demanding the release of its leader Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, held without trial since December 2015.
“This is in an attempt to assume a formidable cover to unleash violence and evoke a complete state of chaos in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja during the group’s Qudus Day Procession/Rally scheduled for Friday in Abuja and several States in the Northern parts of the country”.
“Sequel to this, the Service is warning members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) to desist from staging any form of procession or demonstration as the terrorists will seize the opportunity to unleash mayhem”. Mr. Opuiyo said.
The rallies by the IMN had, however, been held across many cities, in a largely peaceful atmosphere, before the SSS statement.
“The Service is working, in concert with other security agencies, to ensure that no section of the country is attacked during and after the Sallah celebrations”.
“Law abiding citizens and residents are not only assured of their safety but enjoined to go about their normal businesses without fear of attack. It pledges to engage all stakeholders to ensure a hitch free Eid-el-fitr festival across the country,” it stated.