from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – CHINA is concerned at the safety of its citizens in Nigeria following escalating violent crime and the turbulent run-up to general elections in the latter.
The Chinese Embassy described the security situation in the Western African country as complex and severe.
It noted “frequent activities of terrorist organizations and armed bandits, kidnapping attacks and traffic accidents occur from time to time.”
The Embassy mentioned recent reports of the threats by terrorists spilling to the Niger region, the north-central state that is the biggest of the 36 by area.
The Chinese mission encouraged citizens to adopt a “Safety First, Prevention First” strategy amid the violent crimes and the polls that start on February 25.
“As the Nigerian general election is approaching, relevant rallies and activities have increased compared with previous ones,” the embassy stated.
While Nigeria is synonymous with the above-mentioned crimes, the election that is projected to be the tightest since civilian rule in 1999 has added to the insecurity.
Protests over the cash and fuel shortages have added to the issues afflicting Africa’s largest economy, biggest producer of oil and most populous country, estimated at 219 million people.
The Chinese Embassy encouraged its nationals to pay close attention to local security trends, strictly implement various safety measures and avoid non-essential travel.
Citizens must maintain regular contact with Chinese-funded enterprises, chambers of commerce, overseas Chinese groups and consular assistance volunteers in their areas.
Besides electing the president on February 25, Nigerians will elect members of the Senate and House of Representatives.
State governorship elections are set for March 11.
Friday (February 10) marks 52 years of diplomatic relations between China and Nigeria.
– CAJ News