• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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BusinessDay

US warns citizens against travel in Nigeria

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The United States has warned its citizens to reconsider travelling to Nigeria due to increased risk of crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed gangs in the country.

An updated travel advisory issued September 20 by the US Department of State includes a flat “do not travel” warning for Borno, Yobe, Kogi, and northern Adamawa states due to terrorism and kidnapping; Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara states due to kidnapping

A similar warning was issued for Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Imo, and Rivers states (with the exception of Port Harcourt) due to crime, kidnapping, and armed gangs.

While placing these states on Level 4- the highest risk category, the US warned that the security situation in the states is fluid and unpredictable due to widespread terrorist activity, inter-communal violence, and kidnapping; and security operations to counter these threats may occur without warning.

“Violent crime – such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping, hostage taking, roadside banditry, and rape – is common throughout the country. Kidnappings for ransom occur frequently, often targeting dual national citizens who have returned to Nigeria for a visit, as well as U.S. citizens with perceived wealth. Kidnapping gangs have also stopped victims on interstate roads”, the advisory read.

Read also: What Canada’s visa-free travel policy means for Nigerians

“Terrorists continue plotting and carrying out attacks in Nigeria. 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. Terrorists are known to work with local gangs to expand their reach.

“There is civil unrest and armed gangs in parts of Southern Nigeria, especially in the Niger Delta and Southeast regions; and armed criminality and gangs, including kidnapping and assaults on Nigerian security services is also pervasive in this region. Violence can flare up between communities of farmers and herders in rural areas” it added.

It said terrorist groups based in the Northeast routinely target humanitarian camps, security forces, churches, schools, mosques, government installations, educational institutions, entertainment venues, and road travelers.

“Approximately two million Nigerians have been displaced as a result of the violence in Northeast Nigeria” the advisory stated.

TheSstate Department cautioned it citizens that the government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Nigeria due to security conditions.