President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday departed the country for London, United Kingdom (UK) for his routine medical check-up, amid terror threats in Abuja, the nation’s federal capital.
Femi Adesina, the president’s spokesman, who confirmed Buhari’s travel, revealed that the president would return to the country in the second week of November 2022.
Metrobusinessnews.com (MBN) reports that Buhari departed Abuja for Owerri, Imo State, after presiding over a meeting of the National Security Council in the State House, Abuja.
He proceeds to London after his official engagement in the state.
But, there is an uneasy calm in the FCT and its satellite towns as citizens heed Buhari’s advice to continue being vigilant and avoid panic.
Following Buhari’s reaction to the travel advisories issued by the U.S. and UK governments to their respective citizens, no terror attack had been reported in Abuja and its environs.
Consequently, it was observed that all places of worship in FCT and its satellite towns throughout Friday and Sunday were not full to capacities as there used to be as dome of the worshippers decided to remain in their houses.
”Nigeria is no exception in having terror threats listed in foreign government’s travel advice to their citizens. UK and U.S. travel advisories also state there is a high likelihood of terror attacks in many Western European nations.
”Indeed, the UK and U.S. 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,” the president said in a statement by his media aide on Friday.
The President however, expressed optimism that given the ongoing efforts on the part of the military and other security and intelligence agencies with the active support of the civilian population, the nation would emerge victorious against the current challenges facing it.
Terror Alerts: Again, FG urges Nigerians to go about businesses without fear
Monguno, who addressed the correspondents alongside the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema and the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, noted that the travel advisories had created unnecessary fear and apprehension among Nigerians.
He added that the terror alert was needless as the hype and the sense of insecurity it created were unfounded.
According to him, security and intelligence agencies are not resting on their oars to ensure that all Nigerians and every part of the country remains safe.
”From the time this alarm story came out until now, about a week to 10 days, we can see that so far, the situation has been brought under control.
The issue of Nigerians being made to panic is unnecessary, the situation in various areas, the federal capital territory, the situation has been brought under control.
”We are trying as much as possible to work with our neighbours and within the domestic situation to work with our foreign partners in a responsible way without giving the impression that Nigeria is stetting on thin ice to explored.
”That has come to dispel any illusion about any sense of heightened insecurity. It is false, it is irresponsible for anybody to give that signal. We are working with our foreign partners in a responsible way and Nigerians should go back to their normal daily undertakings without being put in a situation of fear.”
Also addressing the correspondents, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, called on citizens to ignore the security threat and travel advisory recently issued by the US and UK, and continue with their daily routines.
Onyeama emphasised that the threat and advisory were mainly issued to the citizens of the countries that originated them. He observed that it had been the norm for US to make such pronouncements to its citizens, as dictated by their constitution, just as she almost simultaneously did in South Africa.
”Nigeria has been engaging the United States (US) on intelligent sharing, ” It’s been the norm for US to make such pronouncement.
”We engage the US from this, and their response was that they are obliged to put out those kinds of statements, normally travel advisories.
”But in this case, it was an alert, but they said that they were obliged to, for their citizens, and that the advice, you know, the alert was really, for their citizens.
”They do it around the world, as you know, they did it also in South Africa, in this particular case,” he said.
Also allaying the fears of Nigerians occasioned by the terror alert, the Chief of Defence Staff, said security agencies had been on their toes to thwart all threats.
Those in attendance at the meeting included Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Boss Mustapha; the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and the National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno.
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The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo; and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao also attended the meeting.
Also in attendance were the Inspector-General of Police, Alkali Baba;the Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Yusuf Bichi; and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai.