Exercise caution while traveling and residing in Nigeria, crime is endemic throughout the country – US warns its citizens

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by Linda Ikeji

The United States government has asked its citizens to exercise caution while traveling and residing in Nigeria. 

In a notice shared on its official website and Twitter, the United States of America’s Embassy in Nigeria averred that crime in endemic in the country and tends to increase during the holidays. 

For fear of terrorism and kidnap, the U.S. cautioned its citizens residing in Nigeria against traveling to Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, and Yobe states.

Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Delta, and Rivers states were also described as “unsafe coastal areas” out of fear of possible civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime.

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The statement read; 

Reconsider travel to Nigeria due to COVID-19, crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

The?Centers for Disease Control?and Prevention?(CDC)?has issued a?Level 3 Travel Health Notice?for?Nigeria due to COVID-19.??    

Nigeria has resumed domestic and international commercial air travel. National land borders are not yet opened.  Business operations (including daycares and religious institutions) are slowly reopening in phases. Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Nigeria.

Do Not Travel to:

  • Borno and Yobe States and Northern Adamawa State due to terrorism
  • Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, and Yobe states due to kidnapping
  • Coastal areas of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Delta, and Rivers states (with the exception of Port Harcourt) due to crime, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime

Country Summary: Violent crime – such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping, and rape – is common throughout the country. Exercise extreme caution throughout the country due to the threat of indiscriminate violence.

Terrorists continue plotting and carrying out attacks in Nigeria, especially in the Northeast. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting shopping centers, malls, markets, hotels, places of worship, restaurants, bars, schools, government installations, transportation hubs, and other places where crowds gather.

Sporadic violence occurs between communities of farmers and herders in rural areas. 

There is maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Nigeria due to security conditions.

If you decide to travel to Nigeria:

  • See the U.S. Embassy’s web page regarding COVID-19.? 
  • Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19. ?
  • Carry proper identification, including a U.S. passport with a current Nigerian visa if needed.
  • Exercise caution when walking or driving at night.
  • Review travel routes and times to vary your predictability.
  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas. 
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events, and be prepared to adjust your plans.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
  • Avoid demonstrations and large political gatherings.
  • Review your personal security plans.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Reports for Nigeria. 
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist. 

Borno and Yobe states and Northern Adamawa State – Do Not Travel

Terrorist groups based in the Northeast target churches, schools, mosques, government installations, educational institutions, and entertainment venues. Approximately two million Nigerians have been displaced as a result of the violence in Northeast Nigeria. 

Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, and Yobe states – Do Not Travel

The security situation in Northwest and Northeast Nigeria is fluid and unpredictable, particularly in the states listed above due to widespread inter-communal violence and kidnapping.

Coastal areas of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Delta, and Rivers states (with the exception of Port Harcourt) – Do Not Travel

Crime is rampant throughout Southern Nigeria, and there is a heightened risk of kidnapping and maritime crime, along with violent civil unrest and attacks against expatriate oil workers and facilities.

Exercise caution while traveling and residing in Nigeria, crime is endemic throughout the country - US warns its citizens
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