UK insists on terror alert as major mall shuts operation

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The UK government insisted yesterday on its terror alert, despite assurances by the federal government that the country was safe.

The fresh alert came as a major mall in the FCT, Jabi Lake Mall, yesterday shuts its operation in what the management said was an effort to protect its staff and customers.

Recall that the UK and US governments had issued an advisory to their citizens in Abuja to watch their movements within the Federal Capital Territory, following the terror alert raised by both countries.

 Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, FCDO, yesterday again updated its travel advisory on Wednesday, 26 October to British nationals, advising them against all but essential travel to the Federal Capital Territory, including the city of Abuja.

FCDO said there was an increased threat of terrorist attacks in Abuja, and advised British nationals to stay alert, avoid non-essential travel within the city and follow local news and advice of security authorities.

Noting that the travel advice will constantly be reviewed to reflect the current situation in Abuja and Nigeria generally, the FCDO said the British High Commission remains open for essential services.

It also advised British nationals to be wary about travelling to such states as Bauchi, Kano, Jigawa, Niger, Sokoto, Kogi, Abia, Plateau, Taraba, within 20km of the border with Niger in Kebbi State and non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers states.

This is even as the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, also yesterday reclaimed parts of the Nigeria Law School land taken over by criminals in Bwari town, just as most primary schools in the territory announced a mid-term break.

These came as the US Government late Wednesday issued a security alert warning its citizens about the possibility of terror attacks in South Africa, similar to that issued in Nigeria.

A short message from Jabi Lake Mall read:  “Jabi Lake Mall will be closed today (yesterday) October 27, 2022. This decision has been taken in the overall interest of the safety of all staff and customers of the mall.

“Centre Management is committed to minimising any disruptions. However, the safety of our staff and shoppers remains our highest priority.

“Management is constantly reviewing the security situation in consultation with relevant security authorities and will inform you when the mall will be re-opened.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and hope to provide you with a quality shopping experience soon.”

On the reclamation of the Law School land, Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to the Minister of FCT, Mr Attah Ikharo, who supervised it, said pulling down the shanties was also to tighten security and restore sanity on the route.

He said the exercise is one of the measures adopted to curb insecurity across the territory and will not be limited to the area alone.

The minister’s aide explained that strategic stakeholders in the nation’s capital had asked the sanitation team not to leave any structure constituting threats to the security of lives and property on the Bwari road stretch.

He stated that key security heads in the territory had insisted that Bwari area must be made safe and free of all evil acts.

According to him, the demolition will be a comprehensive one, starting from Bwari Law School, near Kuchiku-Bwari, down to Bwari main market.

“Pulling down the illegal structures here in Bwari is part of our measures to curb insecurity across the territory.

“This area, along the Law School, stretches down to Bwari market, all the attachments and shanties on the road corridor must go. Some persons in Bwari may see it as a lawless place because, for a long, there is no major clean-up.  It is not only the Law School area but it is going to be a comprehensive clean up,” he stated.

On his part, the Secretary, of FCTA Command and Control Centre, Peter Olumuji, said the operation is a means of sustaining security measures already put in place by the Police and the FCT administration.

He explained that prior to the removal of the shanties, the areas were used as hideouts by criminals.

Alleged raid of Trademore Estate by DSS, American soldier false – FCT Police

In a similar development, Federal Capital Territory police command yesterday described as false, the reported raid on a house at Trademore Estate by DSS operatives and American soldier, who were said to have discovered boxes of explosives purportedly belonging to terrorists.

DSP Josephine Adeh, Public Relations Officer of FCT police command, said “It is not true, it’s fake news”.

However, sources in the military have described it as impossible, “rumours” making the rounds in trending social media reports that American soldiers led the operation to uncover the terrorists’ hidden abode at Trademore, discovered explosives and arrested suspects.

“How is it possible that American soldiers will enter the nation’s capital, lead an operation of such magnitude and the security agencies, particularly the military and the Nigerian Police will not know or participate?

“These are the handiwork of mischief makers, out to achieve certain preconceived motives but soon, we will get to the root of what this mischief is all about,’’ one of the sources said yesterday.

No imminent threat in FCT —  IGP

Speaking on the issue yesterday, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Alkali Baba,  reiterated the commitment of the Nigeria Police Force, in concert with other security agencies, to ensure the safety of all residents within the country.    

The IGP said 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.

The IGP, in a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi said: “Residents within the FCT are urged to remain vigilant and report any suspicious or abnormal occurrence and persons to the Police through the following emergency lines: 08032003913, 08061581938, 07057337653, and 08028940883. 

“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 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.”

Abuja safe, FCT minister declares

Similarly, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello,  declared yesterday that the territory is safe, in spite of security advisories issued to the contrary by some embassies in the nation’s capital.

Bello made the declaration while distributing 60 operational vehicles to security agencies, which he said would help scale-up measures aimed at curtailing threats posed by organized criminal gangs.

Among the benefiting agencies were the Police, Armed Forces, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC and other paramilitary organizations, as well as the Christian Association of Nigeria CAN and Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs NSCIA. Speaking at a brief handover ceremony, Malam Bello said the intervention is to help improve the capacity of security agencies in the nation’s capital.

According to him, state-of-the-art security equipment will be installed in vehicles which will be centrally controlled.

He said: “What we are doing today is to showcase the FCTA’s contribution to the Federal Government’s efforts.

“Permit me to seize this opportunity to commend the efforts of our gallant men and women in uniform who are working tirelessly to ensure that we all remain safe, with some of them paying the supreme price.

“lt is imperative that I mention here that through the efforts of our security agencies, many potentially devastating criminal acts have been prevented. In fact, I make bold to say that for every crime committed, several others were nipped in the bud.

“Residents however also have roles to play in this collective fight against crime and criminality by promptly reporting to the relevant security agencies any suspicious individual or situation. It is only by doing this, that the fight against crime can truly be won.

“It is worthy to mention that apart from these operational vehicles, the Administration is equally providing other security-related gadgets and equipment for the optimal performance of the security agencies.

“We currently confront crimes ranging from traffic offences to more heinous ones such as banditry, armed robbery and kidnapping. It is our expectation that these vehicles and other security equipment will be put to effective use.

“I wish to reiterate that the FCT remains safe and our confidence in the ability of our security agencies to provide adequate security has not wavered. We pledge our continuous support to them in the discharge of their responsibilities.”

Bello expressed optimism that the vehicles would solely be used for the purpose they were procured, adding that each of the vehicles was backed by a three-year maintenance contract.

“I, therefore, call on the beneficiaries of these vehicles to use them judiciously and also produce them for servicing according to a schedule to be worked out,’’ he said.

I expect Buhari to stop million-man marches – Prof Akinyemi

Reacting to the terror alert by the US and Uk governments yesterday, former External Affairs Minister, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to put a stop to ongoing million-man political marches that he said could easily be attacked by terrorists.

Speaking on the issue on  Arise Television’s ‘The Morning Show’, Akinyemi said: “I expect President Muhammadu Buhari to come back from South Korea and don’t go anywhere because he has a flood problem on his hands. He should order the National Security Adviser, after assessment, to call the political parties to stop these million marches that can be easily attacked.”

Akinyemi, who called for ‘visible security presence’ added: “We are in a worrisome time in Nigeria and we should deconstruct the role of every actor in this game. The number of security threats that have been made public is increasing every day.

“The United States started it, then the United Kingdom, India joined, Australia joined, Canada joined and I suspect that the number is going to increase.

“You will recall that in the attack on the American Consulate in Libya by some non-state actors, the American Ambassador to Libya was killed, then the Consulate was ransacked. The Secretary of State then was Hillary Clinton and it became a political issue in the US. She was roasted that the embassy did not take the threat assessment seriously and that it risked and forfeited the lives of Americans. From that time on, no American ambassador would ignore intelligent information that he or she has.

“Also don’t forget that the intelligence information obtained in Abuja, is not collated within Abuja. The information could have been picked from any listening post from the US or anywhere in the world.

“Nigeria doesn’t have that intelligence capability. Therefore don’t let us demonise the Americans or any of the embassies involved in this. Also, the American government is responsible to its citizens, so its role is to look after its citizens.

Election campaign time has started, all these 1, 2, 5 million-man marches are soft targets for terrorists. We don’t need the Americans to tell us because we have been having terrorists’ attacks for over a year and even during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration Boko Haram attacked the United Nations building in Abuja.

“One of the things we haven’t taken seriously is the fact that there are external forces behind these people. The external forces I am talking about are superpowers, not smaller countries somewhere.

“Look at the map of Africa, why are all the big powers now having military bases in African countries and those that don’t have military forces have foreign troops on the ground? There is need to have a visible presence of action by the military.”

After Nigeria, US issues alert on terror attack in South Africa

Meanwhile, the US Government has issued a security alert warning its citizens about the possibility of terror attacks in South Africa.

In the alert posted on its embassy website on Wednesday, the US said it received information that terrorists might be planning to attack large gatherings of people in Sandton, Johannesburg, on Saturday.

The US advised its citizens to avoid large gatherings in the named area.

“The US government has received information that terrorists may be planning to conduct an attack targeting large gatherings of people at an unspecified location in the greater Sandton area of Johannesburg, South Africa, on 29 October 2022.

“There is no further information regarding the timing, method, or target of the potential attack.  The US embassy has advised staff to avoid crowds of people and other large public gatherings in the greater Sandton area of Johannesburg during the weekend of October 29-30 2022,’’ the alert read.

Recall that the US had on Sunday, warned its citizens in Nigeria about possible terror attacks in parts of the country. It said the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, stood a high risk of attack, adding that the terrorists would target government buildings, places of worship, schools and markets.

However, the Department of State Services, DSS, called for calm over the alert, assuring adding that security agencies were taking measures to ensure safety.

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