NSA Scold US Over Bomb Warning…As Security is Beefed Up in Targeted Areas
Huhuonline.com can authoritatively report that the recent warning issued by the United States Mission to its citizens over the growing spate of insecurity in Nigeria may have stirred the hornet's nest as Nigeria's National Security Adviser, Owoeye Azazi, has
dismissed the warning, describing it as capable of spreading unnecessary panic.
The U.S. embassy had on Sunday issued a warning to its citizens to avoid going near three luxury hotels in Abuja namely, the Nicon Luxury, Sheraton Hotel and Transcorp Hilton Hotel, over alleged plan by the Islamist militants, Boko Haram to attack such places. The warning has however grounded social activities in Abuja.
Azazi said that "The U.S. statement is eliciting unhealthy public anxiety and generating avoidable tension. The Nigerian government wants to advise members of the public that it will continue to ensure security of lives and property under its jurisdiction.
"The current threat of attack on the three hotels in Abuja is not news, and for over three months the security services have taken pro-active measures. Members of the public are hereby urged to go about their business without fear."
Huhuonline.com findings on Monday, observed that following the alert, the department of state services (SSS) had deployed some of its personnel to the hotels to ensure tight security just as the Hilton and Sheraton hotels in Abuja remained quiet with soldiers and plain clothes security operatives partially taking charge of activities and performing checks on vehicles for suspected explosives.
Even as Shola Adeyemo, head of public relations at the Hilton, said the Muslim public holiday may have been the reason the hotel was quiet, he pointed out that "We do not know the source of the U.S. information and anyway we have been on high security alert since the U.N. bombing.'
Also, when Huhuonline.com visited the NICON Luxury hotel, a black SSS truck with some personnel was seen stationed at the entrance of the hotel to complement the efforts of armed anti-terrorist squad detailed to the hotels.
At the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, all vehicles entering the hotel were subjected to thorough searches by a combined team of soldiers and policemen who have been manning its entrance since news of the possible attack was disclosed by the US Mission.
Meanwhile, the United States security think-tank, STRATFOR has called for an urgent military clampdown on members of notorious Boko Haram sect which have claimed responsibility for myriads of bombing and unprovoked mayhem on unsuspecting Nigerians and facilities in the country.
According to Mark Shroeder, head of the security outfit and director of the sub-Saharan Africa unit for the U.S. security think-tank, said other options will render President Jonathan powerless and will leave him open to attacks from his political adversary.
"For domestic political purposes, they do need to use a strong hand and allow (the military) to do what they are up there for. If they don't, it's going to come back to President Jonathan. And if he doesn't do that, his political enemies are really going to throw down on him."
But a Kenyan-based analyst for the International Crisis Group, Comfort Ero, has however disagreed with Shroeder, arguing that a military clampdown on Boko Haram could aggravate the present uncertain security situation in the country.
"The government has increased its military presence in the Northern states and the Federal Capital Territory and is clamping down, but this clamping down has also fuelled tension and I think the government needs to review its own actions to ensure its not exacerbating the situation any further. "This unwholesome development is showing that the government hasn't really got a tight grip of security," she posited.