Despite the security alerts by different countries warning their citizens of imminent terrorist attack in Abuja, the Nigeria Police Force has said that there is no imminent threat to the naation’s capital.
The inspector-general of police, IGP Usman Baba, who stated this in Abuja yesterday, reiterated the commitment of the Nigeria Police Force, in concert with other security agencies, to ensure the safety of all residents within the country.
He urged residents within the FCT 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.
According to him, the IGP has admonished FCT residents 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 directed that all emergency numbers across the country should be activated to full capacity for a 24/7 prompt response with combatant officers and men on standby to respond in case of emergency situations and distress calls.
The tension among residents of Abuja heightened yesterday after more Foreign Missions in Nigeria issued warnings to their nationals living in the country, especially in Abuja, to be more cautious and to avoid non-essential travels, following heightened fear of impending terror attacks in Nigeria.
Yesterday, the British government again warned its citizens to be vigilant after the previous warning, indicating its belief that the security situation in Nigeria is deteriorating.
The United States also urged its citizens not to embark on non-essential travels to Nigeria on Wednesday.
A statement issued by The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said, ”The updated advice outlines that there is an increased threat of terrorist attack in Abuja. British nationals are advised to stay alert, avoid non-essential travel within the city and follow the local news and the advice of security authorities.”
FCDO travel advice exists to inform British nationals so they can make decisions about travelling abroad.
“Other states in Nigeria where we advise against all but essential travel include, 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,” the statement added.
In a similar development, the Canadian High Commission told its citizens to avoid non-essential travels to Nigeria, including in Abuja, due to the unpredictable security situation throughout the country and the significant risk of terrorism, crime, inter-communal clashes, armed attacks and kidnappings.
Making this warning through via irs twitter handle, the High Commission advised its citizens against travels to the following Nigeria’s regions due to the risk of terrorism, armed attacks, kidnapping, inter-communal and sectarian violence: north-western states of Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara; the north-central state of Plateau, and the north-eastern states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa and Yobe.
According to the High Commission, Canadian citizens should avoid the “The Niger Delta states of Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo and Rivers (with the exception of Rivers’ capital city, Port Harcourt.
Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos and Calabar, the Cross River state capital, also fall within the category of states where Canadian citizens are to exercise a high degree of caution and avoid travelling to due to high incidence of crime.
Also, Australia, in a memo, reportedly urged its citizens to reconsider traveling to Nigeria “overall due to high threats of terrorist attacks and kidnapping, the volatile security situation, possible violent civil unrest, and high levels of violent crime.”
“If you are in Abuja, avoid all travel, stay alert, and follow local news and security authorities’ advice,” the memo said.
Another warning reportedly came from the Irish Government through its mission.
It said, “Government buildings, shopping malls, hotels, bars, large gatherings, international organizations, transportation facilities, schools, markets, places of worship, and law enforcement institutions, among other things, could be targets
Following the threats of insecurity in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the management of Jabi Mall and Shoprite outlets have announced the shutdown of the shopping complexes within the territory.
The decision to shut down business activities in the malls is coming amidst the tension of a possible terrorist attack in the nation’s capital city, Abuja.
Jabi Shopping Mall Shut
At the last count, at least five foreign missions had issued warning notices to their citizens to avoid non-essential trips to Nigeria’s capital over a possible attack by terrorists.
For Jabi Mall, the decision to close down the facility was contained in a memo signed by its operations manager, Franklyn Ogene, which was issued to all shop owners, members of staff, and customers of the shopping mall.
The memo stated that the shutdown, which took effect yesterday (Thursday), will halt business enterprises such as Shoprite, Games, Silverbird Cinema, KFC, and PEP among others.
The move came amidst the terror threat issued by the United States Embassy on Sunday, followed by that of the UK the next day, and the reported arrest of suspected terrorists in an apartment at Trademore Estate, Lugbe area of Abuja.
The memo reads, “The Abuja Security Alert: Dear Tenant, further to the email trail below, and based on intel reaching us, a decision has been made to shut down the mall tomorrow, October 27, 2022.
“This decision has been taken in the overall interest of the safety of all staff and customers of the mall. Management is constantly reviewing the security situation in consultation with relevant security authorities and will keep you informed as to when the mall will be reopened.”
When our reporter visited the mall to confirm the information, he observed that the gates were locked and customers were asked to turn back.
When asked the reasons for the closure, the security guards said, “the management is working on something inside, and would not accommodate customers for now. But, we do not know when we will reopen again.”
Jabi Lake Mall is an Abuja landmark on the Lake side of Jabi and renowned for its vast selection of over 150 stores. Also, the mall plays host to several restaurants and entertainment options, including a cinema.
Lack Of Trust Between Govt, Citizens Responsible For Panic – Daggash
A former chief of defence staff, Air Marshal Allamin Daggash, has said deepseated distrust between the government and its citizens is responsible for the panic over terror alerts by some foreign missions in Abuja.
Daggash in a chat with LEADERSHIP said the panic is a result of leadership failure due to nonchalant attitude of people in government, especially in the security sector.
He noted that foreign missions had the guts to issue terror alerts because the government has allowed them to do so by virtue of their attitude towards governance.
“We allowed it, we are nonchalant, we are not considerate of what is going on in the country. We should be the first observers; we should be the first people to shout and yell and then if we can’t solve our problem, then let foreigners help us. We allowed that because we have been showing lack of concern and lack of attitude towards these things so they started yelling and running away. It is all our fault.
“There is total distrust in every sector, whether in civil service, military, Villa or government houses in the various states. It is the same distrust along the line from top to bottom, left and right. So, when you have that type of situation, you cannot run a society because the society is completely derailed; they don’t know what to do”.
He added that nobody will believe the government because they have heard their reassurance and promises severally without results.
He reiterated that everything happening now boils down to the failure of governance. “People are not doing their job because they are only looking to cut corners and put some money into their pockets,” he stated.
At the time of this report, the director of Defence Information, Major General Jimmy Akpor, and the director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Musa Danmadami, had not responded to calls for comments.
FCTA Deploys 60 Operational Vehicles To Security Agencies
Meanwhile, in a bid to secure the lives and property of residents of Abuja, the FCT administration has procured and distributed 60 operational vehicles to security agencies and relevant agencies domiciled in the territory to fight against insecurity.
Those to benefit from the vehicles are: police, the armed forces, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and other paramilitary organisations, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), and the vehicles would have a state-of-the-art security equipment installed in them, which will be controlled centrally.
Speaking at the handover ceremony yesterday, the FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, said the intervention was to assist in improving the capacity of security agencies domiciled in the FCT for them to optimally discharge their duties in the territory
“What we are doing today is to showcase the FCTA’s contribution to the federal government’s efforts. Permit me to seize this opportunity to commend the efforts of our gallant men and women in uniform who are working tirelessly to ensure that we all remain safe, with some of them paying the supreme price,” he said.
The minister further said that for every crime committed, several others were nipped in the bud adding that residents also have roles to play in this collective
fight against crime and criminality by promptly reporting to the relevant security agencies any suspicious individual or situation.
“It is only by doing this, that the fight against crime can truly be won. It is worth mentioning that apart from these operational vehicles, the administration is equally providing other security-related gadgets and equipment for the optimal performance of the security agencies.”
. . . Recovers Law School Land From Criminals
The officials of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) have recovered part of the Nigerian Law School’s land used as a criminals’ hideout in Bwari area council.
Senior special assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to the FCT minister, Comrade Ikharo Attah, after the clean-up exercise on Thursday, said pulling down the shanties was also to tighten security and restore sanity to the route.
He said the exercise was one of the measures adopted by the administration to curb insecurity across the territory, an exercise, he said, would not be limited to one area.
Attah explained that strategic stakeholders in the nation’s capital have asked the sanitation team not to leave any structure that was constituting threats to the security of lives and property on the Bwari road stretch.
He stated that key security heads in the territory had insisted that the Bwari area council must be made safe and free from all evil acts, and that the demolition exercise was going to be a comprehensive one, starting from Bwari Law School near Kuchiku-Bwari down to Bwari main market.