The United States Embassy in Nigeria has cautioned American citizens to reconsider travel to Nigeria due to COVID-19, crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime.
The U.S. government, however, warned its citizens to be careful during their stay and travel in the country because “crime is endemic throughout Nigeria.”
The Holiday Security Alert tweeted by U.S. Mission Nigeria (@USinNigeria) also warned U.S. citizens against traveling to 12 states, giving specific reasons.
The states listed are: Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, and Rivers.
“We remind U.S. citizens to exercise caution while travelling and residing in Nigeria. Crime is endemic throughout Nigeria, ranging from petty street crime to carjacking, and crime levels tend to increase during the holidays.”
Specifically, the tweet said “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.”
The alert said terrorist groups based in the North-east target churches, schools, mosques, government installations, educational institutions, and entertainment venues, adding that “approximately two million Nigerians have been displaced as a result of the violence in North-east Nigeria.
“Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, and Yobe states – Do Not Travel. The security situation in North-west and North-east Nigeria is fluid and unpredictable, particularly in the states listed above due to widespread inter-communal violence and kidnapping.
The security alert also listed “The 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.”
The Mission’s Country Summary said: “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 North-east. 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.
“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.”
The U.S. government, it said has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Nigeria due to security conditions.
The government urged its citizens to “reconsider travel to Nigeria due to COVID-19, crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime. Some areas have increased risk.”
On COVID-19 in Nigeria, the advisory said “the Centre 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.”
However, U.S. citizens who decide to travel to Nigeria were advised to 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; and to be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs.
Other precautions are for them to monitor local media for breaking events, and be prepared to adjust their 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; and that U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations.