By Marcus Ikechukwu
Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (Rtd.), Nigeria’s National Security Adviser (NSA), has criticised the United States government for issuing an advisory to its personnel in Nigeria, which he said created unnecessary fear and apprehension among Nigerians.
Monguno said the terror alert was needless as the hype and the sense of insecurity it created were unfounded, urging Nigerians and other residents to go about their businesses without any sense of apprehension.
He also said the armed forces, security, and intelligence agencies are not resting on their oars to ensure that all Nigerians and every part of the country remains safe.
Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (Rtd.) disclosed this to State House Correspondents after an emergency National Security Council meeting convened by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa Abuja.
Monguno addressed journalists alongside the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
Attendees of the emergency National Security Council meeting included Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr Boss Mustapha; and the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.
Others were the Minister of Defense, Major General Bashir Magashi (Rtd); Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; and Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Maigari Dingyadi.
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, led the service chiefs, including the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya; the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo; the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao to the meeting; and the Chief of Defense Intelligence, Major-General Samuel Adebayo, were also in attendance.
The US embassy in Abuja had stated in its security advisory: “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 organisations.
“The US embassy will offer reduced services until further notice. The embassy advised US citizens to avoid all non-essential travel or movements and crowded places. It advised Americans to review their personal security plans and keep their cell phones charged in case of emergency.
“In the usual traditional alignment, the British High Commission, in a short statement, announced that: “On Monday 24 October, British High Commission Abuja (BHC) will be open for Business Critical Staff only. All colleagues wishing to travel to BHC should seek authorisation from the Line Manager/ Block Leads and in advance of travel”.
Buhari had, over the weekend, given Nigerians an assurance that there was no cause for alarm and that Nigerians should be calm while observing strict vigilance.
The latest security advisory from the US and UK comes a few months before the nation’s general election.