John Alechenu, Samson Folarin and Adelani Adepegba
The United States of America has warned its citizens in Nigeria to be conscious of threats of attacks by members of Boko Haram and ISIS West Africa.
In a statement on its website in Nigeria on Friday, the US said the insurgents had threatened to attack public places.
But the Nigerian military has said it is not aware of any possible threat to the country’s upcoming general elections by Boko Haram and its ISIS collaborators.
Also, the police said they were ready to neutralise all security threats.
The US said although it did not have information on whether such attacks were targeted at its embassy or not, it advised its citizens to review their movements and keep a low profile.
It stated, “There is an increase in ISIS propaganda videos specifically directed to Nigeria and the ongoing civil unrest in Borno State and the North-East.
“ISIS West Africa and Boko Haram have both stated they plan to disrupt the upcoming 2019 presidential elections by conducting attacks on Nigerian security and infrastructure as well as places of gathering such as markets, hotels and malls.
“While we have no specific threat information to the US Embassy or within Nigeria during the election season, U. citizens in Nigeria should remember to follow personal security precautions on a regular basis.
“Actions to take: Expect additional police and military checkpoints and possible road blocks throughout the country. Carry proper identification, including a US passport with a current Nigerian visa, if needed; exercise caution when walking or driving at night; review travel routes and times to reduce time and place predictability; avoid crowds and demonstrations; be aware of your surroundings; keep a low profile; stay alert in public places, including schools, hospitals, government facilities, places of worship, tourist locations, and transportation hubs.”
The US embassy also advised its citizens to monitor press reports and review their travel advisory for Nigeria.
We’re not aware of any such threat –Military
The acting Director of Defence Information, Brig. Gen. John Agim, said it was not aware of such threats.
He said this in a telephone interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, in Abuja, on Saturday.
He was reacting to a question as to whether he was aware of a possible ISIS/Boko Haram threat to disrupt the upcoming general elections and what steps were being taken to neutralise such threats.
Agim said, “I’m not aware of any such threat; it has not been brought to our notice.”
When contacted on the same subject, the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, in a response sent via a text message, said, “Please, direct your question to the relevant government agency.
“Although I would like you to direct your question to the relevant government agency, I must inform you that nobody will disclose operational plans or strategy publicly. Therefore, I cannot imagine you getting such answer.”
We’re ready to neutralise all threats, say police
Also, the Nigeria Police Force said the forthcoming election was a major security operation for which it had made the necessary security arrangement.
The Force spokesman, Frank Mba, who did not deny or confirm the reported terrorists’ threat to the 2019 elections as stated by the US, noted that adequate security measures had been put in place to checkmate such threats to the peaceful conduct of the polls.
He said, “The general election is a major security task ahead of the Force; the IGP, Mohammed Adamu, expressly acknowledged this in his maiden speech.
“Our task in this regard is to ensure a peaceful, crisis-free and violent-free elections – before, during and post elections. We are committed to this mission.
“Consequently, adequate security measures have been put in place to identify, isolate and neutralise all possible security threats to the peaceful conduct of the elections.”
He urged Nigerians to continue to support the police in this regard and report any suspicious move to the relevant agencies.
When asked for details of the police security arrangement, Mba said it would not be proper to disclose such.
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