Don’t panic over US/UK security alert, Buhari tells Nigerians

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians not to panic over recent United States (US) and United Kingdom’s (UK) security alert to their citizens in Nigeria.

The President however advised security agencies and Nigerians to be vigilant and security conscious.

The atmosphere in the country, especially in the FCT, Abuja, has been charged in the last few days as many businesses, educational institutions and other concerns have been shutting down in panic following an alleged raid by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) and US soldiers leading to uncovering of boxes of explosives in a house at Trademore Estate in Abuja.

The panic alert was set off last Sunday when the US Department of State issued a travel advisory to American citizens to avoid some categories of trips to Nigeria, naming some States and places to stay away from, including Abuja.

The US alert was trailed by that of the UK and the eventual evacuation of staffers of the US Embassy and citizens.

However, reacting in a statemen by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, President said the foreign countries’ security warnings to their citizens in Nigeria should not destabilise order here as the nation’s security operatives are on top of the situation.

According to him, serious reconnaissance activities are constantly being carried out by the armed forces, the intelligence community and other security outfits, adding that the said discreet intelligence activities have been yielding positive results, leading to the foiling of security threats.

“President Muhammadu advises the nation’s security establishment and entire citizens to continue being vigilant and careful with security, saying it is important to avoid panic.

“He urges citizens to remain calm. The recent changes in travel advice from the US and UK governments should not be a cause for 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. 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.

“Nigerians’ safety remains the highest priority of government. Security services are working around the clock to keep harm at bay.

“The President gives assurances that the government is on top of the security situation in country.

“While noting, in addition, that security threats are real and have been with us for a long while, the nation’s military, the police and other security agencies have shown a capability to deal with it, as is evident from the fact that a majority of our partners, including the United Nations agencies in our midst, have not seen the threat as being sufficient to warrant any form of panic or order citizen evacuations.

“The President stresses that that while being security conscious, being alert and careful is crucial, it is also important that responsible members of the society do not create situations leading to unnecessary panic,” the statement reads.

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