The Federal Government has called for calm over the alert of a potential terror attack on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and across the country.
This is in reaction to the recent travel advisories issued by the United Kingdom and US governments, warning their citizens of possible bomb attacks in Abuja during the Yuletide.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in a latest foreign travel advice to its nationals stated that it would raise the terrorism threat alert in Nigeria during the festive periods. According to the FCO, around 117,000 British citizens visit Nigeria each year.
See Also: Nigerians React To Atiku Rejoining PDP
“The risk of terrorist attack increases around religious festivals; so (the threat alert) will be elevated in the run-up to and throughout the Christmas and New Year holiday period. Terrorist groups have threatened to conduct bombings and attacks in the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) area during this period.
“You (British nationals) should avoid places where crowds gather, including religious gatherings and places of worship, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants, transport hubs and camps for displaced people,” the United Kingdom said in a statement posted on the FCO website.
The US government also warned its citizens not to travel to Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, and Yobe till the end of the year. In a recent warning titled, ‘Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Holiday Security Reminder’, the United States Embassy in Nigeria said:
“The US Mission urges all US citizens to exercise caution in and around shopping centers, malls, markets, hotels, places of worship, restaurants, bars, and other places where crowds gather in and around the Federal Capital Territory, from now through the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season. Terrorist groups have threatened to conduct bombings and attacks in this area during this period.
“The US Mission remains concerned about potential attacks in the states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, and Yobe. Travellers are urged to avoid those states through the end of the year.
“Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates. Be vigilant and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.”
But in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday, Dec. 3, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the security agencies have not let down their guard, despite the fact that there has been no terror attack in the FCT since the Buhari Administration assumed office. He said:
“We know that the terrorists, who have been massively degraded and put on the run, have been looking for soft targets to attack. This is the nature of terrorism all over the world, as can be seen in recent attacks in the UK, France and Egypt, among others.
“That is why the Nigerian security agencies have continued to be on the alert, even if their efforts have been largely unobtrusive so as not to disrupt the daily activities of the citizenry. Such efforts are routinely stepped up during religious festivals.”
According to the Minister, the Federal Government will continue to take adequate measures to protect the lives and properties of citizens and non-citizens alike, even as the military remains unrelenting in ensuring that the terrorists neither regroup nor regain the capacity to carry out organized attacks.
He said the Federal Government’s sensitization campaign on security, with the punchline “if you see something, say something”, would be stepped up on national radio and television, and advised the citizens to be security conscious and to report suspicious people and objects to the security agencies.