By Our Reporters
Checkpoints mounted and manned by soldiers from the Nigerian Army on Friday resurfaced on highways in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and its environs.
The development may not be unconnected with the rash of deadly bombing campaigns launched by Boko Haram suicide bombers in Borno, Yobe, Plateau and Kaduna State after the checkpoints were scrapped and the soldiers recalled to their barracks on a recent order of the Federal Government.
While media reports had it that President Muhammadu Buhari issued the directive to withdraw the soldiers from checkpoints nationwide, the public concern that trailed the order and the spate of bombings that followed it had forced a game of bulk passing in the Presidency, with the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki insisting on Thursday that the President did not issue the withdrawal order.
The Dream Daily investigations showed that soldiers began to return to the checkpoints at about midday on Friday. They were sighted on the major highways in Abuja, including the Zuba-Kubwa expressway, the Nyaya-Maraba express and on Suleja Road, Madala Niger State, among others.
A security source who those not want his name in print because he was not authorised to speak on the development told The Dream Daily that the return of the checkpoints and soldiers to the roads was done on “order from above.”
“We also have to do this to stop the terrorists from coming into Abuja to bomb people like they have done before. The checkpoint removal may have been popular with the people but security wise, it was not a strategic decision because it opened up some parts of the country to easy attacks by terrorists,” the source added.
According to another source, “the Presidency is embarrassed by the successes recorded by the Boko Haram sect in bombing so many places after the checkpoints were ordered removed. There is also the fear that the sect may target Abuja again to embarrass President Buhari and erode the goodwill he enjoys among majority of Nigerians.”
On how the government planned to handle public complaints about the traffic jam the checkpoints, the security source retorted: “People will just have to accept it. It is either they take it this way or they should be prepared to face the consequence, which is that the Boko Haram terrorists will infiltrate Abuja and bomb people like they did before.”