The Canadian government has announced the suspension of operations at its High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria until further notice. The suspension comes after the embassy issued a travel advisory warning Canadian citizens against non-essential travel to Nigeria due to the unpredictable security situation and high risk of crime, clashes, attacks and kidnapping across the country.
The travel advisory and suspension of embassy operations follow an incident on Monday where a fire broke out at the Canada High Commission in Abuja. The fire was attributed to a diesel tank explosion in the generator house and resulted in the deaths of two people and injuries to two others. Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly expressed condolences to the families of the victims and said investigations are underway into the cause of the explosion.
The temporary closure of the Canadian embassy in Abuja highlights growing safety concerns for diplomats and citizens in Nigeria. The travel advisory warns of security threats including terrorism, armed attacks, kidnapping and maritime crime in parts of the country. It advises avoiding non-essential travel to northern and southern border areas and the northeast due to terrorism, presence of armed groups and kidnapping.
The suspension is expected to affect visa and consular services for Nigerians and Canadians in the country. The Canadian government said it hopes to restore operations at the High Commission as soon as conditions permit. President Bola Tinubu offered condolences over the fire outbreak and wished the injured a full recovery. The incident underscores the need for improved security to protect diplomatic missions in Nigeria.