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Terror alert! Security beefed up at Lagos shopping malls

‘No cause for alarm’ – Police

FOLLOWING recent threat by terror group to unleash mayhem in Lagos malls, a high powered security regime has been instituted at major shopping malls in Lagos.  Three malls, ENCOMIUM Weekly monitored on Friday, July 18, 2014, The Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki; Silverbird Galleria and Ikeja City Mall, Lagos, still witnessed human traffic but under high level security surveillance.  Despite the terror threat shoppers still thronged these three places for items.

“This is Friday and a weekend at that, so many things need to be purchased for domestic use,” a shopper at Palms, Lekki, told ENCOMIUM Weekly.

However, no one came into The Palms Shopping Mall without being subjected to routine security checks, all vehicles are thoroughly searched with bomb detector device while fully armed mobile policemen are permanently stationed at the entry point of the mall, there are CCTV that monitor every movement in and outside the mall.  There are personnels inside the control room that monitor development of the CCTV.  This caused vehicular traffic on the Oba Idowu Oniru/BIS Road, Lekki, Lagos, but while the car entrance was controlled the pedestrian side was left unattended, there was no guard to man the gate which was opened for visitors to the mall.

Effort made to get comment from the management of the mall was not successful, the official who attended to us request we follow the protocol which is to write an official letter to the management.

The Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki, Lagos, attract thousands of visitors daily, the place houses the popular Shoprite, Genesis Deluxe Cinema and other retail stores parading luxury goods for sale.

At Silverbird Galleria, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos, human and vehicular traffic was seriously monitored causing a traffic snarl on Ahmadu Bello Way.  The management of the galleria are not taking the terror threat lightly.  They have deployed plain clothed security men around the place who monitor the premises with walkie talkie.  At the entry point of the galleria were two heavily built bounders who carry out checks on those coming into the place with their bomb detector devices at the entrance.

Silverbird Galleria owned and operated by the Bruce family have always operated a high security network plan before the recent terror alert.

The same arrangement was experienced at the Ikeja City Mall, Alausa, Lagos, a long vehicular traffic was seen on Obafemi Awolowo Way, Ikeja, Lagos due to the routine check at the entrance of the mall.  An official of the management of the mall insisted they have always been security conscious with or without terror threat.  The multi-billion naira worth mall also attracts the highest number of vehicle traffic daily.

In the last few days there have been apprehension over threat by terror group, Boko Haram of their intention to cause mayhem at shopping malls around Lagos and Abuja.  The threat was not taken lightly as police in Lagos swung into actor and raided Ijora Badia area of Lagos of strange faces. In fact, the police in Lagos have intensified their 24-hour surveillance around the city, there are also speed boats stationed around the Lagos waterways to combat possible insurgent using the waterways to infiltrate Lagos.

The Area 1 complex housing over 100 lock-up shops in Abuja was completely shut down on Friday, July 18, 2014, due to what was termed as terror threat.  Only recently the Emab Plaza in Abuja was bombed by persons suspected to be terrorists, last year Westgate Shopping Plaza in Nairobi, Kenya was shattered by bombs masterminded by a terrorist group killing thousands of shoppers in that part of the divide.

Lagos Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ms. Ngozi Braide alleged fears of Lagosians over the threat by Boko Haram insisting that the group does not exist in Lagos.  “The police are fully on ground, people should not be scared the police are capable and are always available to counter any act of terrorism.”

-FOLUSO SAMUEL

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