The Department of State Services (DSS) has said there was no joint sting operation with the United States Army in Trademore Estate, Abuja as was been reported in some sections of the media, stressing that there was no collaboration with any foreign military for that matter.
Spokesman of the DSS, Dr Peter Afunanya, said yesterday that the clarification became important following the continued peddling of the wrong information for some days now.
Speaking on the reported bomb discovery in Abuja, the DSS spokesman also said there was no threat of bomb attack in Abuja as being reported within last one week and no bomb was discovered with the operations in the last one week.
Following the security alert by the U.S. Embassy to its citizens in Abuja on a planned terrorist attack, the DSS had called on citizens to be at alert and remain calm.
The U.S. Embassy had issued security alert to its citizens on October 23, noting that there were impending terrorist attacks on public places in Abuja.
Part of the alert stated: “There is an elevated risk of terror attacks in Nigeria, specifically in Abuja. 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. The U.S. Embassy will offer reduced services until further notice.
“Actions to Take: Avoid all non-essential travel or movement, stay alert, avoid crowds, review your personal security plans and keep your cell phone charged in case of emergency and carry proper identification.”
Afunanya had said the alert was similar to that which had been issued by the service recently.
Part of the DSS statement read: “The Department of State Services has received several enquiries relating to the security advisory issued by the US Embassy in Abuja, on October 23, 2022. The public may recall that the service had variously issued similar warnings in the past.
“While advising that necessary precautions are taken by all and sundry, the populace is enjoined to remain alert and assist security agencies with useful information regarding threats and suspicious criminal acts around them. The service calls for calm as it works with other law enforcement agencies and stakeholders to maintain peace and order in and beyond Abuja.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has advised the nation’s security establishment and entire citizens to continue being vigilant and careful with security, saying it was important to avoid panic.
He urged citizens to remain calm, saying the recent changes in travel advice from the US and UK governments should not be a cause for panic.
According to a statement by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, the president said Nigeria was no exception in having terror threats listed in foreign government’s travel advice to their citizens.
He said UK and US travel advisories also stated there was a high likelihood of terror attacks in many Western European nations.
Buhari said the UK and US advice to their respective citizens for travel to one another’s countries contained the same warning, noting that terror is a reality the world over.
He, however, said it does not mean an attack in Abuja was 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,” he added .
The president assured that the government was on top of the security situation in country.
While noting in addition that security threats were real and had been with us for a long while, he said the nation’s military, police and other security agencies had shown capability to deal with it, as was evident from the fact that a majority of Nigeria’s partners, including the United Nations agencies in the country, had not seen the threat as being sufficient to warrant any form of panic or order citizen evacuations.
The president stressed that that while being security conscious, being alert and careful were crucial, as it is also important that responsible members of the society do not create situations leading to unnecessary panic.
Buhari commended the military and other security agencies for the recent turn around in the nation’s security, and directed that additional precautionary measures be put in place and that these must not slacken now and during the upcoming festive period.
He expressed optimism that given the on-going 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: Successful Hosting Of UNESCO Shows Terrorists Can’t Destabilise Nigeria Peace, Security – FG
The federal government has said the successful hosting of the UNESCO Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2022 in Nigeria was a testament to efforts of the nation’s security forces in keeping residents of the capital city, and indeed Nigeria safe.
UNESCO has also resolved to establish an International Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Institute in Nigeria as part of its framework to curb disinformation, fake news and build trust.
The decision formed parts of the resolutions of the 2022 UNESCO Global Media and Information Literacy Week which ended in Abuja yesterday.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this while speaking at the closing session of the Week and the adoption of the Abuja Declaration on Global Financing for Media and Information Literacy.
He said, “The huge success of the 2022 Global MIL Week in Abuja, coupled with the first-hand experience of our guests from all over the world, is a clear testimony to the organizational ability and warmth of our people.
“The successful hosting of an international event, in a week marked by petrifying terror alerts, is also a testament to the great efforts of our security forces in keeping residents of our capital city, and indeed our country, safe, despite the antics of terrorists who are continually plotting to destabilise our nation’s peace and security. Thanks to the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, our country will be progressively safe and secure, for citizens and non-citizens alike.”
Alhaji Mohammed re-echoed the collective conviction of speakers and contributors at the various sessions of the MIL week, which is that the development of Media and Information Literacy (MIL) is a panacea for the fight against all forms of disinformation and the building of trust.
The minister said Nigeria was committed to pursuing, supporting and promoting the right media and information policies and programmes that would enhance the development of the capacities of citizens, particularly the youth, in the effective use of media and information literacy.
British Airways Cancels London-Abuja Flight Over Terror Alert
Foreign Airlines may have started boycotting the nation’s capital over terror alerts issued by some foreign countries.
Recall that foreign missions in Nigeria issued security alerts over likely terrorist attack on Abuja.
The embassies of Denmark, Ireland, Bulgaria, Finland and Germany in Abuja also joined United States and the United Kingdom to issue similar alerts following advisories warning of risk of terror attacks in Abuja.
Also, the US Department of State in a further escalation of the threat approved the departure of its citizens willing to leave Nigeria due to the alert. The US embassy also suspended consular services in Abuja.
However, LEADERSHIP gathered that British airways cancelled its flight which was expected to arrive in Abuja in the early hours of Saturday.
The development comes after a BA83 flight from London-Heathrow to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, was suddenly diverted to Lagos.
However, passengers affected by the cancellation and diversion have lamented that there was no adequate notice.
Passengers also said that the airline did not provide any reason for the decision, but said the diversion might not be unconnected with the terror alert in Abuja, with several foreign missions issuing travel warnings to their citizens.
It was further gathered that after BA brought Abuja-bound passengers to Lagos on Thursday, the passengers, mostly Nigerians, refused to disembark, and insisted on the flight terminating in Abuja.
One of the passengers who wrote in a WhatsApp group said, “When they refused and insisted on the flight terminating in Abuja as contracted, the crew threatened to launch tear gas at the mostly Nigerian passengers right in the plane.
“They had been telling people on board since they boarded last night, Abuja. Why must you go to that place! After an uproarious session and an hour on ground, the plane finally took off and arrived in Abuja around 11am.
“There is a lot of mischief afoot on this terror attack warning and it smells like we need to talk less and pull out antennae to their highest gain heights. This is not just a terror warning; there is more schemes and actions of enemies within and without.”
The Abuja-bound flight which was supposed to depart London by 10 p.m and arrive by 4:40 am on Saturday has been cancelled.
This was also shown on the flight radar, which indicated that the Abuja-bound flights for Friday and Saturday had been cancelled.
But the return flight from Abuja to London departed normally, it was learnt.
Effort to confirm the development from the – Regional Commercial Manager Nigeria & Ghana, British Airways, Adetutu Otuyalo, proved abortive as text messages sent to her were not replied as of the time of filing this report.