FG says US, UK terror alerts will harm Nigeria’s economy

THE Federal Government has said the recent terror alerts issued by the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) embassies in Nigeria would have a long-term negative impact on the country’s economy.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed expressed this concern during his appearance before the senate on Tuesday.

Mohammed, who stressed that the terror alerts have “quite harmful” effects on the nation, said that he had been inundated with several inquiries from Nigerian missions abroad on the security situation in the country.


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He reiterated his earlier concern that the security alerts have resulted in panic in public places, including schools across the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“The advisory sent a wrong signal that Abuja was not safe. Many schools did not open on Monday, and some flights, including British Airways, were diverted to Lagos,” he said.

“I received several inquiries from our missions abroad as if there was a problem in the country. It was really unfortunate.

“These embassies heightened the situation by evacuating their nationals and sending advisories to stay away from Abuja.

“The long-term economic effects of the advisory will be quite harmful to Nigeria because investors will not come and invest in a country alleged to be unsafe. It was really sad.”

The ICIR reported how the US government had warned that there was an elevated risk of terror attacks in Nigeria, especially in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Last week Sunday, the US Mission in Nigeria had, in a security alert issued to its nationals, raised the alarm of an elevated risk of terror attacks in Nigeria, specifically in the FCT.

The Embassy said targets may include but are not limited to, government buildings, places of worship, schools, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants, athletic gatherings, transport terminals, law enforcement facilities, and international organizations.

It advised its nationals to avoid all non-essential travel or movement, stay alert, avoid crowds, review their personal security plans, and keep their cell phone charged in case of emergency, including carrying proper identification.

The British High Commission also issued a similar warning, advising parents not to send children to schools.

“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Nigeria. Attacks could be indiscriminate and could affect western interests, as well as places visited by tourists,” the UK said in a travel advisory posted on its website.

Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa (ISWAP) were identified as the likely perpetrators of the terror attacks.

The High Commission urged British nationals in Abuja, as well as other residents, to remain vigilant and minimise travel within the city.

Residents were also advised to be mindful of crowded areas, particularly ahead of the forthcoming elections.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Defence Bashir Magashi has also told the House of Representatives that security agencies have started verifying the sources of the alerts with a view to nipping the alleged threats by terrorists to attack Abuja and other parts of the country in the bud.

He said the government had taken steps to beef up security within Abuja, Nararawa and Niger states.






     

     

    “We believe that there is no smoke without fire and in that regard, we were able to subject the details to our intelligence organisations, and they have provided answers to those areas which the government demands.”

    “We tried to identify countries that were also interested in the same remarks made by the US government and we are of the opinion that the best way to go about it is to continue and where possible beef up security in Abuja and its contiguous states, that is Nassarawa, Niger and the rest of them.”

    Magashi said although the threats were not dire, the government was not taking them lightly.

    “I think we are on top of the situation. The threat is not very dire but we are not taking it lightly. We are doing all we can to ensure that peace and progress of Nigeria are maintained.”

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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