U.S. defends stance on travel alert to Americans in Nigeria

Obama-2FOLLOWING Nigeria’s recent complaint over alleged “frivolous” travel alerts issued on the country’s security situation by the United States (U.S.), Washington has reiterated its right to send such messages to its citizens in the country and elsewhere.

A U.S. government official who spoke in Washington DC on Wednesday after the Nigerian Information Minister, Labaran Maku, had addressed the media on the matter, insisted that the threat information received by the U.S. government on Nigeria “is credible and non-counterable.”

Mr. Mark Toner, Deputy Spokesperson at the U.S. State Department, insisted that “in accordance with the U.S. State Department’s no double standard policy, when we deem a threat to any U.S. citizen, we do issue these kinds of emergency messages.”

Toner was speaking with reporters at the State Department press briefing where several questions were raised on the credibility and source of the recent claim by the U.S. Embassy that Boko Haram terrorists were going to attack Abuja.

The U.S. Embassy in Nigeria had issued a warning in Abuja advising American citizens to avoid all major hotels in the Nigerian capital, as Boko Haram terrorists might have planned fresh strikes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

But the Federal Government, in its reaction through Maku after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, charged foreign envoys to work with Nigerian security agencies in order to avoid making statements that might create “undue panic” among the public.

But Toner stated: “We did receive information that Boko Haram may be planning attacks in Abuja, Nigeria, against hotels frequently visited by westerners.”

However, when pressed further by the media he conceded: “We don’t have any additional information regarding the timing of these attacks.”


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