In the wake of THISDAY’s investigation and subsequent report last March, on how the plot to bomb Lagos was averted, recent findings indicate that the terrorists purportedly sent a threat to Shoprite stores in Lagos.
A joint task force comprising of both operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) and Operation Mesa (OP Mesa), a combined security outfit comprising the police and the armed forces, had in March raided the hideout of the alleged terrorists and recovered a large cache of bombs, weapons and ammunition.
Subsequent investigations by THISDAY had revealed that the terrorist group had already infiltrated Lagos and had targeted 16 landmarks including the popular Third Mainland Bridge, tank farms in Ijora and Apapa as well as the popular Shoprite stores in different parts of the state.
Although the masterminds of the plot and the armourer were arrested and the weapons recovered, it was still unclear if the suspected 16 suicide bombers were finally rounded up and arrested by the security agencies.
The uncertainty and panic the raid caused in Lagos was yet again brought to the fore Thursday when rumours of the bomb threat filtered into Shoprite in Lekki, Lagos.
The text message which emanated from an unknown person or group allegedly promised to blow up all Shoprite shops in Nigeria one after the other.
The inflammatory text message was said to have caused panic as customers alike purportedly fled the store as well as the mall housing Shoprite.
Although the person did not disclose the reason for his vendetta, he claimed they had already infiltrated the area and planned to plant the bombs in packets of juice in the massive store.
The text message read in part: “It is true, we do not deserve amnesty but you will even be surprised how I got your number. We came to Shoprite on a mission to drop a bomb.
“That day, we hid into Five Alive packs. We are from Niger. Someone gave us your number from Abuja. We will make sure we destroy every shoprite…(sic).”
However, police sources said the state command had begun investigation into the threat and plans to uncover the identity as well as round up the masterminds and bring them to book.
Although some police officers sources dismissed the threat as a hoax, others told THISDAY that in the light of the recent security breach in the state, the command would not treat the threat with levity.
Although the command has not ruled out the text message coming from some disgruntled members of staff or mischievous persons, efforts are being made to unravel the case.
THISDAY authoritatively gathered that the threat had already put security agencies on red alert across the state but particularly on previous designated landmarks in the radar of the terrorists.
This recent scare has further reinforced claims that terrorist cells have successfully been established in Lagos as its headquarters and then spread to other parts of the South-west.
A security source, who spoke to THISDAY under strict condition of anonymity, said they are constantly on the alert to prevent such nefarious acts from taking place.
Attempts to speak with the spokesman, SSS, Ade Adetunji, proved abortive as at press time and further attempts to confirm with the police spokesperson, DSP Ngozi Braide also proved abortive. She however promised to find out.