US warns of terror attack, orders non-emergency staffs, families to leave Abuja

… As IGP insists there is no terror threat

Abuja—The United States on Thursday ordered its non-emergency diplomatic staff and their families to leave Abuja, citing a “heightened risk of terrorist attacks,” Channels TV reports.

The US State Department did not specify the threat, but its country summary for Nigeria warns that “terrorists may attack with little or no warning,” targeting malls, markets, hotels, restaurants, bars or schools.

The latest US security move comes after the embassy on Sunday urged Americans to limit their movements due to an “elevated risk of terror attacks in Nigeria, specifically in Abuja” — a warning repeated by Britain, Canada and Australia.

Abuja has historically been seen as safe, but insurgents linked to the Islamic State group have claimed several attacks in surrounding areas over the past six months.

The Federal Government has urged residents to stay calm and to take “necessary precautions.”

The police have also ordered a counter-terrorism exercise in the capital.

Residents in the Abuja area, including Western diplomats, have been increasingly worried about insecurity after a mass jailbreak from Kuje, a prison on the outskirts of the city, in July.

“The Travel Advisory for Nigeria has been updated due to a heightened risk of terrorist attacks in Abuja,” the US statement said.

“We recommend U.S. citizens do not travel to Abuja at this time.

“In addition, on October 27, 2022, the Department ordered the departure of family members of U.S. government employees from Abuja due to heightened risk of terrorist attacks, following on the October 25 authorization of departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and family members from Abuja due to heightened risk of terrorist attacks.

“U.S. citizens should consider departing Abuja using available commercial options. U.S. citizens who wish to depart but are unable to secure commercial options to do so can contact the U.S. Consulate in Lagos at for assistance.

“The U.S. Embassy Abuja is only able to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in Abuja. The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos is providing all routine and emergency services to U.S. citizens in Nigeria. U.S. Citizens in Nigeria who require assistance should contact or +234 1 460 3410.”

But, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, on Thursday insisted that there is no security threat in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

In a statement by the Force spokesman, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the IGP reassured Nigerians and other foreign nationals of their safety within the country.

The police chief emphasized this while charging all Strategic Police Managers in charge of Commands and tactical formations within the country to beef up security in their respective jurisdictions, especially in the FCT.

He reiterated the commitment of the Nigeria Police in securing lives and properties, noting that the Force will achieve its mandate in collaboration with other security agencies.

“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 statement read.

“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.”

Baba 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.

He appealed to FCT residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious or abnormal occurrence and persons to the Police.

The police boss also asked the general public to reach the Force through the following emergency lines: 08032003913, 08061581938, 07057337653, and 08028940883.

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