Defense Minister Bashir Magashi says Nigeria needs prayers from the United States government, not a terror alert that will “confuse” Nigerians.
Mr Magashi said this on Tuesday while answering questions from members of the House of Representatives Committee on Defense during the budget hearing.
He stated that the US government’s terror alert was discussed Monday at the Security Council meeting.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that the US and British missions in Nigeria issued separate security warnings on Sunday about possible terror attacks in Abuja.
In a further escalation of the threat, the US State Department approved the departure of some of its citizens willing to leave Nigeria because of the warning. The United States
embassy also suspended consular services in Abuja.
The embassies of Denmark, Ireland, Bulgaria, Finland and Germany also issued similar security advisories.
In a safety advisory, Julius Berger on Friday asked his expats to avoid all public events within the FCT within a certain period of time.
However, the Nigerian government condemned the advice through the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed. The government insisted that Nigeria, including the capital Abuja, is safe.
‘We need prayers’ “I think we need prayers from the United States, which will not give us information that will confuse our citizens or be unable to take appropriate action,” Mr Magashi said.
However, he acknowledged that there is “no smoke without fire” and that the government is unwilling to take any risks.
The minister revealed that intelligence agencies have provided information to guide the government in addressing the terror alert.
He stated that the main strategy is to ensure vigilance and proactive measures against any possible attack.
Mr Magashi revealed that the Secretary of State, Geoffrey Onyama, has been instructed to liaise with the US government and others to
ensure that in the future such information is given directly to governments, not citizens.
“Our foreign minister is taking that up to ensure that such information is brought to the attention of the ministry before it is disseminated to society,” he said.
Earlier in his presentation, the committee’s chairman, Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) said the military should take the terror alert very seriously.
“This committee calls on the armed forces of Nigeria to take note of the recent security alert in Nigeria by the US government. We urge you to work effectively with sister security forces to ensure that all security threats are fully neutralized and Nigerians can live peacefully,” he said.
Meanwhile, the House Committee on Army also instructed the government to ensure that every effort is made to prevent terror attacks on the country.
The committee’s chairman, Abdulrasak Namdas (APC, Adamawa), instructed the Nigerian military to deploy sufficient resources to protect the capital.
Mr Namdas issued the directive on Tuesday when Chief of Staff Faruk Yahaya appeared before the committee to defend the army’s budget.
The lawmaker said: “The military must put enough boots on the ground to prevent any security breaches in Abuja on the scale claimed by the above-mentioned security warning,” he said.
Standing committees of the House of Representatives are currently holding public hearings on the 2023 budget proposal.