Boko Haram has been predominantly based in northeastern Nigeria since launching its insurgency in 2010. However, since 2019 there have been growing signs of factions operating in northwestern Nigeria. The excerpted 26 August article for Lagos-based Punch, which is among the most popular southern Nigerian newspapers, suggests the group may be establishing cells in southern Nigeria.

According to the article, Boko Haram’s Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-loyal faction set up bases in Oyo State, which is near Lagos. At least two major political and intelligence officials in the state, including Gani Adams and Colonel Kunle Togun, respectively, have made this claim. However, their claims should warrant some skepticism because the article notes the intelligence official, Col. Kunle Togun, has previously issued some remarks that were not considered to be objective. Moreover, the article indicates Togun conflated attacks by Fulani herders in Oyo State with the terrorists in Boko Haram. Although herders and Boko Haram could theoretically fight together, there are sometimes sectarian undertones when southern Nigerian officials blame violence on northern Fulanis.

The article also notes that the Council of Elders in Oyo State echoed Togun’s claims and asserted his claims were based on credible intelligence. The Council also noted the ISIS-loyal Boko Haram faction had already moved into Niger State, which is north of Oyo. Nevertheless, it did not explain the evidence for asserting that motorbikes and other supplies were being sent from Oyo State to Boko Haram or other terrorists in Sokoto, northwestern Nigeria.

While Togun urged Nigeria’s government to do more to protect the people of Oyo State, the conclusion of the article also noted the Council of Elders urged southern Nigerians to apply for gun licenses to defend themselves. Although some information provided in the article may be true and based on actual intelligence, it also cannot be dismissed that several claims made in the article were politicized and intended energize southern Nigerians for potential clashes with northerners, especially herders.

More worrisome, the intelligence report also reveals that suspected ISIS operatives have already positioned themselves in
Niger State.

Source: “Amotekun backs Adams as Onakakanfo alleges terrorists’ presence in Oyo.”, 26 August 2020.

Gani Adams has raised the alarm that some fighters of the dreaded Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have been stationed in the Oke Ogun area of Oyo State. Adams, who is the generalissimo of Yorubaland, said this on Tuesday in a communiqué at the end of the extraordinary meeting of the Ààre O`nàkakanfò-in-Council. The Chairman of the Oyo State Security Network, codenamed Operation Amotekun, Col. Kunle Togun (retd.), also confirmed Adam’s claim. Togun said, “I have been saying this for a long time that our land has been infiltrated. These so-called Fulani herdsmen are not herdsmen but foreign terrorists.”

Adams called on the Federal Government to ensure that Nigerian borders were secure to prevent further infiltration by criminals and terrorists. The communiqué read in part, “More worrisome, the intelligence report also reveals that suspected ISIS operatives have already positioned themselves in Niger State via Ìbàrùbáland, and are now within the Òkè-Ogùn corridor of O`yo´ State.” Indeed, the intelligence also revealed that about 500 power bikes and armours belonging to the terrorists have been physically sighted along the abandoned Lusada route moving towards Sokoto, from Igbó-Orà in O`yo State. The council, therefore, “enjoin all South-West governors as well as the governors of Kwara and Kogi states to emulate the Governor of Benue State, Mr Samuel Ortom, by directing their citizens to apply for gun licenses for self-defence against the marauding terrorists and killer herdsmen.”

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