WASHINGTON has advised its citizens to be wary of travelling to Nigeria pointing out that listed 20 of the country’s 36 states as unsafe warning Americans to avoid visiting them in its latest travel advice.
According to the US embassy in Nigeria, Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states ate complete no-go areas as the ability of the US mission to provide assistance to its citizens in those states remains severely limited. In addition to the three frontline states, the State Department also recommends against all but essential travel to Bauchi, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, and Zamfara states.
US citizens are advised not to visit the states due to the risk of kidnappings, robberies and other armed attacks. In addition, the Department of State also warns against travel in the Gulf of Guinea because of the threat of piracy.
It said based on safety and security risk assessments, the embassy maintains restrictions for travel by US officials to the states listed above. Officials must also apply for advance clearance by the US mission for any travel to those states.
Furthermore, the US embassy urged vigilance around government security facilities, churches, mosques, other places of worship and locations where large crowds may gather. These include hotels, clubs, bars, restaurants, markets, shopping malls and other areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
“Security measures in Nigeria remain heightened due to threats posed by extremist groups, and US citizens may encounter police and military checkpoints, additional security and possible road blocks throughout the country. Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians have been displaced as a result of violence in the north.
“Separatist groups have staged demonstrations in Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Imo, Lagos, and Rivers States, some of which have turned violent. Militant groups have destroyed oil production infrastructure in Bayelsa and Delta states, so US citizens are advised to avoid the areas of these states where these incidents have occurred.” a US embassy spokesman said.
According to the US State Department, kidnappings remained a security concern throughout Nigeria, as criminal elements across the country orchestrated abductions for ransom. Also Islamic extremists, operating predominantly in the north, have been known to carry out kidnappings.