Minister for Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola has said law enforcement almost missed terrorists with 17 suitcases loaded with explosives to bomb Lagos in 2013 if not for citizen information.
The former governor of Lagos disclosed that the attempt was foiled with the help of citizen information and the terrorists were tried without passing the information to the public.
“It is when information is offered that law enforcement must act to check, recheck and verify,” Fashola said in Lagos on Thursday while delivering a lecture at the fourth annual public lecture of the United Action for Change (UAC).
“So, when 17 suitcases loaded with explosives were brought into Lagos in 2013, law enforcement missed it.
“It was citizen information, which we did not discard, that led to their seizure, apprehension of the suspects and their cargo of terror.”
Fashola, who governed Lagos for two terms from May 29, 2007, to May 29, 2015, said the intercepted 17 suitcases were smuggled in to wreak havoc in the state during his administration.
“That was the period new courts were being built in Badagry and we prosecuted them there,” Fashola said.
“They were given a fair trial because they had lawyers representing them.”
He said the 20 terrorists were convicted and this enabled the government to put them in a place where they could no longer harm residents of Lagos.
The minister noted that security was not the responsibility of law enforcement agencies alone, but also that of the citizens.
“Let me be clear that this is the duty of the citizen and it starts with all of us being interested in our own wellbeing and security,” Fashola said.
“It involves not only careful choices about lifestyle which will prevent us from being attractive as victims to criminals. It requires us to show more interest in what/who is around us and to pay more attention to unusual things.”
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