Nigeria’s former minister of foreign affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi has asked all political parties and the supporters to suspend all political rallies because of the terror alerts issued by the US authorities.
The US and the United Kingdom (UK) recently issued travel advisories warning their citizens living in Nigeria about the possibility of terror attacks in the federal capital territory (FCT).
Speaking on Thursday in a chat with ARISE TV, Akinyemi said political parties must “balance rights with responsibility” and help the security agencies focus solely on protecting Nigeria.
“These are inconvenient times for Nigeria because it is election time and campaigns have started. All these one-million-man marches and the like are soft targets for terrorists,” the former minister said.
The US state department on Wednesday announced the evacuation of “non-emergency” employees and their family members in Nigeria.
Reacting to the warning, the federal government had said it will not be “stampeded” by the warnings, adding that Nigerian security forces are on top of the matter.
Speaking through the minister of information and culture, Mr Lai Muhammed, Nigeria will not be stampeded by whatever any government decides to tell its people living in Abuja and parts of the country.
He made this known on Wednesday during a briefing after the Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Mohammed declared that the US acted within her rights to advise her citizens to go home but Nigeria won’t be stampeded by such warning or action.
He underscored that the government has in the last few months taken a firm handle of security, urging citizens to avoid liking or sharing materials that could incite panic.
According to a statement by Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, Buhari added that the travel advisories do not mean that an attack is imminent in the federal capital territory (FCT).
The Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has stated that issuing a terror alert does not mean that an attack was imminent, or would happen and that there was no need to panic.
“Nigeria is no exception in having terror threats listed in foreign government’s travel advice to their citizens. UK and US travel advisories also state there is a high likelihood of terror attacks in many Western European nations,” he was quoted as saying.
“Indeed, the UK and US advice to their respective citizens for travel to one another’s countries contain the same warning. Unfortunately, terror is a reality the world over.
“However, it does not mean an attack in Abuja is imminent. Since the July prison raid, security measures have been reinforced in and around the FCT. Heightened monitoring and interception of terrorist communications ensure potential threats are caught further upstream.
“Attacks are being foiled. Security agents are proactively rooting out threats to keep citizens safe – much of their work unseen and necessarily confidential.
The US and Britain had on Sunday warned of possible terror attacks in Abuja, especially at government buildings, places of worship, schools and other centres where large crowds gather.
The US further urged its citizens and Embassy staff in Nigeria’s political capital to leave but the Department of States Services urged residents of Abuja and Nigerians in general to remain calm, saying security agencies are right on top of the situation.