The United States of America, United Kingdom, France, Nigeria, Benin Republic, Cameroun, Republic of Chad and Niger Republic have set up an External Intelligence Response Unit (EIRU) on Terrorism.
According to a statement signed by the Coordinator of the National Briefing Centre on Terrorism and Director General of National Orientation Agency (NOA) Mr. Mike Omeri, the new structure was set up as part of the agreement reached at the Paris summit on terrorism.
Omeri confirmed that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) had been signed by the nations which guarantees their commitment to sharing all information on security, particularly on challenges pertaining to terrorism.
Omeri said the move was initiated by the Government of Nigeria, elaborating: “As a fall out of the Paris summit, an External Intelligence Response Unit (EIRU) has been established by Nigeria, Benin Republic, Cameroun, Chad, Niger, United Kingdom, France and the United States.” He called the development a major achievement in the fight against insurgencies in the West African sub-region and Nigeria in particular.
He explained that the team met last month in Abuja to establish the framework that led to the signing of the MoU in Yaoundé, Cameroun.
Omeri had earlier in the briefing said the Director General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Mr. Ayo Oke, had participated in a meeting last Monday in Yaounde, the Camerounian capital, where other West African countries signed the MoU, pledging mutual assistance and cooperation against terrorism.
“As part of the continued efforts by the federal government to strengthen the alliance against terrorism, the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency participated in a meeting on Monday, June 10 in Yaounde with his counterparts from other West African countries, during which a Memorandum of Understanding pledging mutual assistance and cooperation in this fight against terrorism in the West African sub-region was signed,” Omeri said.
He also advised football enthusiasts to be vigilant and conscious of their environment as the World Cup kicks off in Brazil today, adding that the advisory was necessary due to the current security challenges facing the nation.
“The government is advising Nigerians, particularly football enthusiasts, to be extra vigilant and cautious of every movement of persons and any alien objects around their vicinity during and after the duration of the World Cup which starts tomorrow (today). This advice has become necessary owing to the unscrupulous activities of those that do not wish Nigeria well,” he said.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 19 persons have been killed and several others injured in Rim and Jol villages of Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State by unknown gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.
It was also gathered that several homes and a church were burnt by the rampaging gunmen.
A source from one of the villages said the gunmen stormed Rim and Jol at 1.30 am yesterday and shot the villagers in their sleep.
According to the source, six members of the Special Task Force (STF) deployed to restore peace in Plateau were among those killed.
A member representing Riyom constituency in the state House of Assembly, Mr Daniel Dem, confirmed the attack, decrying the killings and describing it as unfortunate.
He said: “At 1.30 am there was an attack in Rim and Jol villages. In Rim, persons were killed and houses were burnt. Some security personnel were also killed.”
Dem appealed to the people of the community to remain calm and not to take laws into their hands.
Fulani herdsmen had protested on Tuesday when 30 of their boys were injured and 60 cows killed following an attack by suspected Berom youths from Rim and Jol villages.
They had also called on security agents to investigate the incident, but barely 24 hours later, they may have taken their pound of flesh.
The Fulani, through Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), had also denied the alarm raised by the Berom community in the villages that they have a camp in Rim where insurgents were being trained for possible attacks on Berom villages.
Efforts to reach the spokesman of the STF, Captain Ikedichi Iweha, to confirm yesterday’s attack were unsuccessful.