On October 23, 2022, the United States Embassy in Abuja warned American citizens of an “elevated risk” of terror attacks in Nigeria, especially in Abuja. 

Just when we were catching some rest for the weekend and looking forward to salary week, the terror alert popped up to remind us that there’s no rest in this country.

What are the possible targets?

 Possible targets for terrorists include:

  • Government buildings
  • Places of worship
  • Schools
  • Markets
  • Shopping malls
  • Hotels
  • Bars
  • Restaurants
  • Sports gatherings
  • Transport terminals
  • Law enforcement facilities
  • International organisations

How serious is this alert?

This isn’t the first time a foreign government has issued terror threat alert in Nigeria in 2022. In July, the US and United Kingdom alerted their citizens with separate warnings of an imminent rise in crime in Abuja. The advisories followed the prison escape of over 400 inmates, many of whom were convicted terrorists, from Kuje Prison.

How are security agencies reacting to this? 

The Department of State Services (DSS) has called for calm over the U.S. advisory but asked Nigerians to remain vigilant. The agency said it was working with other security agencies to maintain peace and order across Nigeria. Given that the president himself is out of the country, it might be hard to find that reassuring.

What can you do?

The U.S. government wants its citizens to take some precautions in light of the feared attacks and that’s what we should all do:

  • Avoid crowds as much as possible. Terror attacks are often designed for maximum impact and crowds are easy targets.
  • Avoid all non-essential travel or movement.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and report any unusual faces or movements to the nearest authorities. Communal vigilance is essential in periods of high security threats.
  • Carry a form of identification at all times.
  • Review your personal security plans and keep your cell phone charged in case of emergency.

Ultimately, it’s important not to panic. This sounds like something the government would say but it makes sense — unwarranted panic can create even more trouble than any credible threat of danger. 


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