Amid the terror threat in Nigeria’s capital, the US has asked family members of its employees resident in Abuja to leave.
This is contained in the latest travel advisory issued by the US Consulate in Nigeria.
The first of such warning was issued on Sunday after which at least nine foreign missions raised alarm that Abuja was being targeted for attacks.
Among the nations that have raised the alarm are UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Denmark, Bulgaria, India and Germany.
But the Federal Government has assured Nigerians that the nation’s capital is safe.
Despite this, there have been unconfirmed reports of foreigners leaving the country in droves.
On Thursday, one of the biggest malls in Abuja shut down indefinitely, citing safety concerns.
In an update to the alert which said the US mission was ready to evacuate its citizens from Nigeria over terror fear, the embassy asked employees’ family members to leave Abuja.
“The Travel Advisory for Nigeria has been updated due to a heightened risk of terrorist attacks in Abuja. We recommend U.S. citizens do not travel to Abuja at this time. In addition, on October 27, 2022, the Department ordered the departure of family members of U.S. government employees from Abuja due to heightened risk of terrorist attacks, following on the October 25 authorization of departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and family members from Abuja due to heightened risk of terrorist attacks,” read a notice on the US embassy website.
“U.S. citizens should consider departing Abuja using available commercial options. U.S. citizens who wish to depart but are unable to secure commercial options to do so can contact the U.S. Consulate in Lagos at LagosFM@state.gov for assistance.
“The U.S. Embassy Abuja is only able to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in Abuja. The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos is providing all routine and emergency services to U.S. citizens in Nigeria. U.S. Citizens in Nigeria who require assistance should contact LagosACS@state.gov or +234 1 460 3410.”
Those willing to travel to Nigeria were given the following guidelines:
- Carry proper identification, including a U.S. passport with a current Nigerian visa, if needed.
- Use caution when walking or driving at night.
- Keep a low profile.
- Review travel routes and times to vary your predictability.
- Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
- Avoid demonstrations and large political gatherings.
- Review your personal security plans.
- Have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.
- Establish a “proof of life” protocol with your loved ones, so that if you are taken hostage, your loved ones know specific questions (and answers) to ask the hostage-takers to be sure that you are alive (and to rule out a hoax).
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Obtain comprehensive medical insurance that includes medical evacuation.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter .
- Review the Country Security Report for Nigeria.
- Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist .
- Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
- Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel, and read the Embassy COVID-19 page for country-specific COVID-19 information.
On Thursday night, Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, placed his men on alert nationwide and released emergency numbers to the public.