December 1, 2022

U.S. orders non-emergency diplomatic staff and their families to leave Nigerian capital Abuja over ‘heightened risk of terrorist attacks’

President Joe Biden speaks with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari after a meeting on the Build Back Better World initiative, Tuesday, November 2, 2021, during the COP26 U.N. Climate Change Conference at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
President Joe Biden speaks with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari after a meeting on the Build Back Better World initiative, Tuesday, November 2, 2021, during the COP26 U.N. Climate Change Conference at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
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The U.S. government on Thursday ordered non-emergency diplomatic staff and their families to leave Nigerian capital Abuja over “heightened risk of terrorist attacks.”

“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,” said the U.S. embassy in Abuja.

The security alert added, “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.”

The United States government announced on Monday that there is an elevated risk of terror attacks in Nigeria, specifically in Abuja, and that the U.S. Embassy will offer reduced services until further notice. 

“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 organizations,” the U.S. embassy in Abuja said in a security alert.

The State Department on Wednesday also commented on the possible terror attack in Nigeria during a press briefing in Washington D.C. 

“There’s not much that I can say beyond what the embassy has released publicly,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said when asked to provide further assessment of the risk. “And yesterday, Mission Nigeria distributed and posted online a security alert stating that there is, quote, “an elevated risk of terror attacks in Nigeria, specifically in Abuja.” 

“The embassy there will offer reduced services until further notice. We take our responsibility when it comes to providing timely, accurate information to the American citizen community there and everywhere around the world very seriously. We take seriously our commitment to have no double standard when there is information available to us. In this case, we provided timely notification of the security alert and the fact that the embassy will be offering reduced services for the time being,” Price said. 

The U.S. Embassy in Abuja urged Americans to avoid all non-essential travel or movement, stay alert and avoid crowds. They should also carry proper identification and review their personal security plans and keep their cell phones charged in case of an emergency.

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