Radical Islamic sect Boko Haram has said the phone-in interview made to African Independent Television (AIT) by a purported member of the sect is fake.
According to Sahara Reporters, sources close to the sect have disclaimed the phone call and its threats to attack major businesses in the commercial hub of Lagos State within 72 hours.
The alleged interview with AIT stirred panic as the sect has recently staged several deadly attacks in the past few days, including the suicide bombing of Thisday newspaper offices in Abuja and Kaduna.
In its latest video message, the Boko Haram sect, claiming responsibility for the attack on the newspaper office, said it had targeted Thisday as punishment for false reports about the sect published in the leading newspaper.
The video showed a calm suicide bomber, smiling and speaking into a camera in Abuja, before driving his black SUV through the gates of the newspaper office and detonating the car bomb device.
Boko Haram promised to wage a more deadly war on papers it claimed were not neutral, mentioning the Punch, Vanguard, both with large offices in Lagos, VOA News and the Daily Trust as its next targets.
Spokesman to the IGP of the Nigeria Police Force, Mr. Frank Mba, assured that security measures have been taken to protect media houses.
The sect firmly denies, however, rumoured plans to attack the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos, as well as major recreation spots in the throbbing, vibrant and densely populated city of Lagos.
It further denied any validity to the “fake” caller’s request that President Goodluck Jonathan meet with the sect in Yobe state to discuss the conditions of a ceasefire.
The Boko Haram source told Sahara Reporters that the call was probably made by a prankster taking advantage of the recent hysteria caused by the sect’s deadly activities.
Boko Haram has waged an increasingly violent insurgency in Africa’s most populous nation, claiming over 1,000 lives since 2009.