The United States Department of State has issued a travel advisory cautioning American citizens against visiting Nigeria due to significant security concerns. The advisory emphasizes the heightened risks associated with various threats, including crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and the presence of armed gangs in multiple regions of the country.
Specifically, the advisory highlights areas of increased risk:
Borno, Yobe, Kogi, and northern Adamawa states are singled out for concerns related to terrorism and kidnapping.
Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara states are noted for the risk of kidnapping.
Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Imo, and Rivers states (excluding Port Harcourt) are identified for issues related to crime, kidnapping, and the presence of armed gangs.
The advisory also notes the prevalence of violent crimes such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping, hostage-taking, roadside banditry, and rape throughout Nigeria. Kidnappings for ransom are common, often targeting dual-national citizens and perceived affluent U.S. citizens visiting the country.
Terrorist activities remain a persistent threat, with attacks targeting locations where crowds gather, including shopping centers, malls, markets, hotels, places of worship, restaurants, bars, schools, government installations, and transportation hubs. There is also a concern that terrorist groups may collaborate with local gangs to expand their influence.
Furthermore, parts of Southern Nigeria, particularly in the Niger Delta and Southeast regions, experience civil unrest and the presence of armed gangs. Armed criminal activities, including kidnapping and assaults on Nigerian security forces, are prevalent in these areas. Tensions between farming and herding communities in rural regions can also escalate into violence.
It’s important to note that the U.S. government’s ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Nigeria is limited in many areas due to security conditions.
For those who still choose to travel to Nigeria, the advisory recommends several precautions, including carrying proper identification, staying vigilant, monitoring local media for updates, and being prepared to adjust plans. Additionally, it advises against participating in demonstrations and large political gatherings for safety reasons.