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Presidential candidates strengthen security ahead of terror alerts

Presidential candidates of all political parties say they will continue campaign despite terror alerts released by the UK and US



The Presidential campaign organisations of the Peoples Democratic Party, the All Progressives Congress and the Labour Party have demanded for more security on campaign grounds.

This call was made against the backdrop of the terror alerts that were issued on Sunday,October 23rd, by the United States Mission and British High Commission in Nigeria. 

Though the Police Force had promised to deploy more men to campaign the grounds, the Presidential candidates insisted that they would not suspend their rallies despite the warnings.

The various groups spoke on the issue on Monday,October 24th,on behalf of their presidential candidates; Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, Bola Ahmed Tinubu of APC and Peter Obi of the LP.

The security alerts warned citizens of the US and the UK in Nigeria about the risk of attacks by terrorists across the country, especially in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The warnings pointed out places of targets as including government buildings, places of worship, schools, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants, sports gatherings, transport terminals, law enforcement facilities, and international organizations.


Speaking on the development, the PDP vowed to go ahead with its campaigns in preparation for the 2023 general elections without any delay. 

A spokesperson for the PDP council, Kola Ologbondiyan, said it was the Federal Government’s responsibility to provide adequate security not just at the campaign rallies alone but also across the length and breadth of the country, campaign or not. 

He said, “We have no plan to suspend our campaigns because of this terror alert. We will continue to take our message to rescue our country to all Nigerians wherever they are. We are determined to win this election come 2023. So, suspending campaigns because of this is totally unnecessary.

“We can’t ask for any extra protection but it behoves on the Federal Government to provide security for all of us. That we are members of the opposition does not stop them from protecting us.’’


Similarly, the National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Abayomi Arabambi, said the police must provide security at rallies as the party had written to the police for protection.

“Although officially we have written for protection, we will not mind taking private security (guards) who will be loyal to the cause.

‘’With or without the US security advisory alert, the Labour Party is already under attack from the APC-led Federal Government. Our supporters were attacked in Lagos, Bayelsa and Ebonyi during rallies and even recently by the Iyaloja General of Lagos in conjunction with Governor Sanwo-Olu where our members trade. They were forced to pay N5,000 for the Tinubu rally. If you cannot pay, they take over their shops. It was all over the media, yet security agencies closed their eyes to this,”he said. 

Emeka Obasi, media aide to the Labour Party’s Presidential candidate, on Monday gave conditions for suspending the campaign activities as he said campaigns were not meant to take lives of innocent citizens. 

He said, “These are human lives we are talking about. I think it is high time all the presidential candidates in this election sat the president down and discussed the insecurity issue. Otherwise, it is not going to be business as usual for people to go out anyhow for rallies.

“What if along the way, something happens to some people? Imagine if a bomb blast goes off somewhere, every party, not just LP, is likely to postpone or cancel their campaign outright. Insecurity is a very serious issue.

“On our part, we are not taking the security alert lightly because this is coming directly from US Intelligence. For an American government to issue such an alert, it is not for nothing. Terror is terror everywhere. Nobody is safe.

“This is why I mentioned earlier that my principal is not something that will ignore this kind of threat and pretend all is well.

“But I can assure you that if there are some flashpoints or areas that are not safe for the campaign, my principal will stop it. He doesn’t like risking people’s lives.”


The Spokesperson for Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo also spoke on the issue of the terror threat. 

He explained that the council had a security directorate that could handle any safety issues during the APC rallies.

“We have a directorate that is in charge of security. That is one of the reasons the particular directorate was set up. Any proactive steps regarding security threats, they will take care of it adequately,’’ the Minister of State, Labour and Employment stated.

 When asked if the party would suspend its rallies because of the security advisory, Keyamo said, “We have not taken any of such decisions yet. But I don’t think there is any cause for alarm.”

“You know security matters cannot be discussed in public. All I can assure you is that we have a security department, which will take care of such threats adequately,’’ he added.

The Director, Defence Information, Major General Jimmy Akpor, said the intelligence community was aware of the looming terror attack and had put mechanisms in place to nip it in the bud before it became an issue that led to declaring a state of emergency. 

Akpor said, “Though the UK and the US embassies have raised the alert. Before it filtered to the embassies, the intelligence community had been on top of the situation.

“The press, covering it, however, would only alarm and inflame the situation. It would serve no purpose unless it would stoke fear in the minds of Abuja residents. So, without any violent act of terrorism, the terrorists would have yet achieved their objective, because the primary objective of terrorism is to instil fear.”

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