Despite efforts by the Nigerian government to douse tension, the UK government insisted yesterday on its terror alert as accurate and imminent.
The fresh alert came as a major mall in the FCT, Jabi Lake Mall, yesterday shuts its operation in what the management said was an effort to protect its staff and customers.
Vantage News earlier reported that the UK and US governments last week raised a terror alert in Nigeria and further advised their citizens in Abuja to watch their movements within the Federal Capital Territory.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, FCDO, yesterday again updated its travel advisory on Wednesday, 26 October to British nationals, advising them against all but essential travel to the Federal Capital Territory, including the city of Abuja.
FCDO said there was an increased threat of terrorist attacks in Abuja, and advised British nationals to stay alert, avoid non-essential travel within the city and follow local news and advice of security authorities.
Noting that the travel advice will constantly be reviewed to reflect the current situation in Abuja and Nigeria generally, the FCDO said the British High Commission remains open for essential services.
It also advised British nationals to be wary about travelling to such states as Bauchi, Kano, Jigawa, Niger, Sokoto, Kogi, Abia, Plateau, Taraba, within 20km of the border with Niger in Kebbi State and non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers states.
This is even as the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, also yesterday reclaimed parts of the Nigeria Law School land taken over by criminals in Bwari town, just as most primary schools in the territory announced a mid-term break.
These came as the US Government late Wednesday issued a security alert warning its citizens about the possibility of terror attacks in South Africa, similar to that issued in Nigeria.
A short message from Jabi Lake Mall read: “Jabi Lake Mall will be closed today (yesterday) October 27, 2022. This decision has been taken in the overall interest of the safety of all staff and customers of the mall.
“Centre Management is committed to minimising any disruptions. However, the safety of our staff and shoppers remains our highest priority.
“Management is constantly reviewing the security situation in consultation with relevant security authorities and will inform you when the mall will be re-opened.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and hope to provide you with a quality shopping experience soon.”
No imminent threat in FCT — IGP
Speaking on the issue yesterday, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, reiterated the commitment of the Nigeria Police Force, in concert with other security agencies, to ensure the safety of all residents within the country.
The IGP, in a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi said: “Residents within the FCT are urged to remain vigilant and report any suspicious or abnormal occurrence and persons to the Police through the following emergency lines: 08032003913, 08061581938, 07057337653, and 08028940883.
“The IGP, therefore, allays the fear of residents in the FCT and admonishes them to go about their lawful businesses and normal social lives/engagements as all hands are on deck to nip any security threat in the bud and respond to distress calls promptly.
“The IGP similarly reiterates the commitment of the Nigeria Police to eliminating all threats, as well as protection of lives and property of all residents of the country.”
Reacting to the terror alert by the US and Uk governments yesterday, former External Affairs Minister, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to put a stop to ongoing million-man political marches that he said could easily be attacked by terrorists.
Speaking on the issue on Arise Television’s ‘The Morning Show’, Akinyemi said: “I expect President Muhammadu Buhari to come back from South Korea and don’t go anywhere because he has a flood problem on his hands. He should order the National Security Adviser, after assessment, to call the political parties to stop these million marches that can be easily attacked.”
Akinyemi, who called for ‘visible security presence’ added: “We are in a worrisome time in Nigeria and we should deconstruct the role of every actor in this game. The number of security threats that have been made public is increasing every day.
“The United States started it, then the United Kingdom, India joined, Australia joined, Canada joined and I suspect that the number is going to increase.
“You will recall that in the attack on the American Consulate in Libya by some non-state actors, the American Ambassador to Libya was killed, then the Consulate was ransacked. The Secretary of State then was Hillary Clinton and it became a political issue in the US. She was roasted that the embassy did not take the threat assessment seriously and that it risked and forfeited the lives of Americans. From that time on, no American ambassador would ignore intelligent information that he or she has.
“Also don’t forget that the intelligence information obtained in Abuja, is not collated within Abuja. The information could have been picked from any listening post from the US or anywhere in the world.
“Nigeria doesn’t have that intelligence capability. Therefore don’t let us demonise the Americans or any of the embassies involved in this. Also, the American government is responsible to its citizens, so its role is to look after its citizens.
Election campaign time has started, all these 1, 2, 5 million-man marches are soft targets for terrorists. We don’t need the Americans to tell us because we have been having terrorists’ attacks for over a year and even during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration Boko Haram attacked the United Nations building in Abuja.
“One of the things we haven’t taken seriously is the fact that there are external forces behind these people. The external forces I am talking about are superpowers, not smaller countries somewhere.
“Look at the map of Africa, why are all the big powers now having military bases in African countries and those that don’t have military forces have foreign troops on the ground? There is need to have a visible presence of action by the military.”
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Vantage News Nigeria or any employee thereof.