By Jibril Almustapha
The United States Embassy in Nigeria has alerted its citizens in Nigeria on possible protests and restricted movements on national and state elections days in the country, February 25 and March 11 respectively.
In a statement issued on its website on Sunday, the Embassy advised its nationals to avoid rallies as “they can turn violent with little or no notice”. The Embassy also advised American citizens in Nigeria to have three days of food and water at home in case movement restrictions are extended beyond election days.
The statement which was made available on the embassy’s website was captioned, ‘Security Alert – Possible Protests Leading to Elections and Restricted Movements on Election Days’.
“The Government of Nigeria will restrict the movement of all personal vehicles on election days across the country,” it read in part. “Information from the Government of Nigeria indicates that only law enforcement personnel and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)-accredited election observers will be allowed to move freely along the roads.”
“Based on past election practice, we anticipate personal vehicles will be blocked from any and all attempted road movement from 00:00 (12:00AM, Nigerian time) until 18:00 (6:00PM Nigerian time) February 25 and 00:00 (12:00AM Nigerian time) until 18:00 (6:00PM Nigerian time) March 11.
“Please be advised that movement restrictions may be extended at any time. Be alert to Government of Nigeria information about the restrictions.”
Protests broke out across states in Nigeria amid scarcity of new naira notes and petrol last week. Banks and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were vandalised by frustrated Nigerians whose moneys are trapped in the banking system.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari last Thursday banned old N500 and N1,000 notes and extended the validity of old N200 notes till April 10, 2023 but at least 10 governors have approached the Supreme Court to step aside the directive of the President in the case set to hear on February 22.