US is­sues se­cu­rity alert to cit­i­zens in Nige­ria

The Punch - - NEWS -

Fes­tus Abu and Ade­lani Ade­pegba

THE United States has is­sued a se­cu­rity alert to its cit­i­zens liv­ing in Nige­ria amid ris­ing ten­sions in the Mid­dle East, fol­low­ing Fri­day’s US airstrike that killed Iran’s most pow­er­ful mil­i­tary com­man­der Gen­eral Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi para­mil­i­tary chief Abu Mahdi al-muhan­dis near Bagh­dad air­port.

Iran vowed to seek re­venge on the US, with the coun­try’s Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei say­ing a “harsh re­tal­i­a­tion is wait­ing for the crim­i­nals whose filthy hands spilled his (Soleimani) blood”, ac­cord­ing to Nbc­

Also, the Is­lamic Move­ment in Nige­ria and some youths in Abuja on Mon­day protested against the killing of Soleimani.

The IMN, pop­u­larly known as Shi’ites, burned Amer­i­can flags at the Banex, Wuse area of the city.

The protesters chanted an­gry songs such as ‘Death To Amer­ica’ as they con­demned the US’ ac­tion.

The sect also de­manded the re­lease of their leader, Ibra­heem El-za­kzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, from cus­tody.

Our cor­re­spon­dent also learnt that some Mus­lim youths blocked the Abu­jaK­effi Ex­press­way in protest against Soleimani’s killing. The de­vel­op­ment caused heavy traf­fic.

The un­ruly youths also paral­ysed com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties in Mararaba and Nyanya as traders who feared an es­ca­la­tion of their ac­tion locked up their shops and fled.

It was learnt that the youths were dis­persed by se­cu­rity of­fi­cers.

The Nige­rian Supreme Coun­cil for Is­lamic Af­fairs ap­pealed to the youths “not to al­low their emo­tions to be­cloud the dan­gers of tak­ing to the streets.”

The Head of Me­dia and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, NSCIA, Ibrahim Ase­lemi, said in a state­ment the im­passe be­tween Iran and Amer­ica could only be re­solved through di­a­logue.

Mean­while, Soleimani’s suc­ces­sor Es­mail Ghaani has warned of an im­pend­ing blood­bath against Amer­i­cans in the Mid­dle East.

“Be pa­tient, and you will see the bod­ies of Amer­i­cans all over the Mid­dle East,” he was quoted as say­ing by OAN.

Ac­cord­ing to Is­rael Times, the leader of the Iran-backed Hezbol­lah called on Shi’ite mili­tias to at­tack US mil­i­tary as­sets through­out the Mid­dle

East — in­clud­ing sui­cide bomb­ings.

How­ever, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Satur­day warned Iran against re­tal­i­a­tion against the US, threat­en­ing to hit 52 Ira­nian sites.

Ap­par­ently fear­ing the Ira­ni­ans and their al­lies could ex­tend their at­tacks to Nige­ria, the US Em­bassy in Nige­ria is­sued a se­cu­rity alert for its cit­i­zens in the coun­try.

The state­ment posted on its web­site ad­vised Amer­i­cans in Nige­ria to re­view their per­sonal se­cu­rity mea­sures, be pru­dent and keep a low pro­file.

How­ever, the US in the se­cu­rity ad­vi­sory dated Jan­uary 3 said it had “no spe­cific se­cu­rity threat in­for­ma­tion” re­gard­ing its cit­i­zens in the coun­try.

The state­ment read, “Due to re­cent world events, US cit­i­zens should re­view their per­sonal se­cu­rity mea­sures. While we have no spe­cific threat in­for­ma­tion, it is pru­dent to re­mind our­selves of the fol­low­ing per­sonal se­cu­rity ac­tions to fol­low on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

“Ac­tions to take: Be aware of your sur­round­ings; keep a low pro­file; avoid crowds and demon­stra­tions; ex­er­cise cau­tion when walk­ing or driv­ing at night; carry proper iden­ti­fi­ca­tion; re­view your per­sonal se­cu­rity plans and mon­i­tor lo­cal me­dia for up­dates.”

Fol­low­ing the killing of Soleimani, and the ten­sions gen­er­ated by the de­vel­op­ment, the In­spec­torgen­eral of Po­lice Mo­hammed Adamu de­cided to put all po­lice com­mands and for­ma­tions on high alert.

Adamu said in­tel­li­gence re­port had in­di­cated that some “do­mes­tic in­ter­ests” were plan­ning to em­bark on mas­sive pub­lic dis­tur­bances and sab­o­tage to protest Soleimani’s killing.”

•L-R: Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Gen­eral Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing, 2 Divi­sion of Nige­rian Army, Brig. Gen. Koko Isoni; Deputy Gov­er­nor of Oyo State, Mr Rauf Olaniyan; and Chair­man, Nige­rian Le­gion, Oyo State Com­mand, Mr Michael Fa­jimi, dur­ing the inau­gu­ra­tion of an em­blem in com­mem­o­ra­tion of the 2020 Armed Forces Re­mem­brance Day in Ibadan… on Mon­day. Photo: Oyo State Gov­ern­ment

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