By Our Editor
The United States government has issued a travel advisory, warning its citizens against travelling to Nigeria over the worsening security situation in the country.
This was posted on Tuesday, via MyTravelGov, a travel advisory platform managed by the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.
The advisory also identified some high-risk zones in the country, where kidnapping for ransom, terrorism and other security threats are recurrent.
“Reconsider travel to Nigeria due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime. Some areas have increased risk.
“Do Not Travel to: Borno, Yobe, and northern Adamawa states due to terrorism and kidnapping Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, and Zamfara states due to kidnapping, Coastal areas of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, and Rivers states (with the exception of Port Harcourt) due to crime, kidnapping, and maritime crime,” the American government advised.
It further stated that violent crime – such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping, hostage-taking, 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.
“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. Terrorists are known to work with local gangs to expand their reach.”
“There is civil unrest and low-level armed militancy in parts of Southern Nigeria, especially in the Niger Delta region. Armed criminality, including kidnapping and maritime crime, is also pervasive in this region.”
Recall that Nigeria security forces rescue ten foreign nationals kidnapped by pirates last March but were rescued in southern Nigeria, the army said.
The victims were released unharmed by Nigeria’s security forces in Rivers state, after Nigerian mediators paid a $300,000 ransom for their freedom, Col. Mohammed Yahaya told journalists.
The hostages were kidnapped on Feb. 7 off the Atlantic coast of the West African country, Gabon, and included six Chinese nationals, three Indonesians and a Gabonese, believed to be fishermen.
Kidnapping for ransom has become a lucrative practice in Nigeria.