Nigeria’s president is urging people to “avoid panic” and “remain calm” in the wake of warnings by several Western countries of possible terror attacks in the capital, Abuja and elsewhere in the country.
The US, UK, Canada, Ireland and Australia have advised their citizens against travelling to Nigeria, and the US has gone a step further by ordering all non-essential diplomatic staff to leave.
In a statement on Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari downplayed the threat – saying security forces and citizens should stay “vigilant and careful” but that Nigeria was “no exception” in this regard, because the US and UK also warn of the “high likelihood of terror attacks in many Western European nations”.
He added that Nigerians’ safety remains the “highest priority of government” and that “security agents are proactively rooting out threats to keep citizens safe – much of their work unseen and necessarily confidential”.
Nigeria is grappling with several security challenges including violence by extremist groups and kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs.
“Unfortunately, terror is a reality the world over,” and these latest alerts by Western countries do not mean “an attack in Abuja is imminent… security threats are real and have been with us for a long while,” Mr Buhari said on Friday.