Nigerian authorities are issuing warnings about planned attacks on viewing centres across the country, charging security personnel to be vigilant throughout the month-long World Cup.
In separate alert issued on June 25 and seen by PREMIUM TIMES, the police headquarters and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), both in Abuja, said terrorists were plotting to attack crowded viewing centres.
The Force Headquarters directed all state police commissioners to ensure “intense patrols” and give frequent updates on security situations in their respective jurisdictions.
The NIS also directed its command heads across the country to ensure that all properties belonging to the agency are protected from security breach.
The alert could jolt millions of Nigerians who depend on viewing centres to keep up with the World Cup, relished as the country’s most-admired football tournament.
It was unclear whether law enforcement agencies like the State Security Service (SSS) and the Civil Defence put similar warnings in place as at Tuesday night. A spokesperson for the Civil Defence did not immediately return requests for comments; while the SSS has no spokesperson.
The precision of the alert may seem difficult to gauge because there were no indications about parts of the country that are mostly at risk, but attacks on football viewing centres had been recorded in the past.
A bomb attack at a viewing centre in Damaturu during the 2014 World Cup left at least 21 people dead. The viewers had gathered to watch Brazil and Mexico game on June 18, 2014, when a massive explosion ripped through the shed, leaving at least 27 also injured.
In 2012, three people were killed when a bomb went off at a viewing centre in downtown Jos, Plateau State. Other pockets of security breaches have been reported at viewing centres across the country in recent years.
Nigeria has been battling Boko Haram terrorists since 2009, with tens of thousands killed across Northern Nigeria in terror attacks.