UK, EU, Australia issue new security warnings ahead of general elections

In the most recent security advisories issued on Thursday, the United Kingdom and Australia advised their citizens not to travel to Nigeria.

Similarly, the European Union warned that insecurity could prevent some parts of the country from holding elections.

The EU stated that the “security climate” in Nigeria is extremely hostile, with the 2023 general elections taking place in less than 35 days.

The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and other developed nations issued terror alerts in October of last year, warning their citizens in Nigeria to avoid shopping malls, religious centers, and hotels that they said could be targeted by terrorists.

But the Federal Government jettisoned the advisories, describing them as false and guaranteeing Nigerians to go about their lawful business as the country was safe and secure.

Also, last December, the Tony Blair Institute revealed that the elections could be interrupted by Boko Haram, the Indigenous People of Biafra and criminal gangs.

In an updated travel advisory on Thursday, the Australian government appealed to its citizens to have second thoughts or cancel their planned visits to Nigeria.

A statement by the Australian government said, “Nigeria is scheduled to hold national and state elections between 25 February and 11 March. The risk of election-related violence is high. You should avoid all political gatherings and election related sites in the lead up to, during and after this period.

“Offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission across the country have already been targeted and should be avoided. Politically motivated murders and kidnappings have occurred, and the threat of further incidents remains high.”

For those planning to visit, Australia urged them to “Reconsider your need to travel. We have reviewed our travel advice for Nigeria and now advise reconsider your need to travel to Abuja.’’

Corroborating the Australian alert, the UK government also warned that protests might break out during the election.

The UK government said, “Nationwide elections will take place in Nigeria in February 2023, and there is a heightened risk of protests during this period.

“Political rallies, protests and violent demonstrations can occur with little notice throughout the country. International news events can sometimes trigger anti-Western demonstrations.”

According to the EU, the security challenges in Nigeria pose a great threat to the forthcoming general elections, if not addressed.

 

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