The United States have gotten alarm bells ringing as they warn of possible terrorist attacks in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos.
The statement reads:
“The US Mission in Nigeria advises that groups associated with terrorist activity might be planning attacks against hotels in Lagos frequented by international visitors, including those located on waterfronts, during the Eid-al-Fitr holidays.”
Tuesday and Wednesday were declared public holidays to mark the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan which will be marked by customary celebrations across many Nigerian cities.
The US warning, posted on its embassy’s website, is unusually specific but not the first about possible attacks in locations frequented by expatriates.
A similar security warning was given in December last year, while in May 2014 diplomats warned of possible terrorist attacks at two Sheraton hotels in Lagos, after a car bombing in the capital, Abuja, killed 19 just days before a major economic summit.
Similar warnings were given in April 2012 and November 2011 about hotels popular with Westerners in Abuja.
Lagos is a melting pot mega city of some 20 million people, has been spared the worst excesses of violence by the Islamist group Boko Haram, whose seven-year reign of violence has brought the North Eastern region to its knees.
The southwestern coastal city has been once hit before. On June 25, 2014, explosions ripped through the port area near a major fuel depot.
The Federal Government blamed the blast on a cooking gas cylinder which exploded but eyewitnesses and Western diplomats said it was a car bomb that killed at least four people.
Boko Haram’s shadowy leader Abubakar Shekau later claimed responsibility.
The US Embassy’s latest warning did not mention a specific group but urged its citizens to “review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates”.