US cautions citizens traveling to Nigeria, lists 18 states to avoid

The United States government has issued a fresh travel advisory for Nigeria, warning its citizens to reconsider travelling to certain states in Nigeria due to what it refers to as “increased risk of crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed gangs in the country.”

In the updated travel advisory issued on September 20 by the US Department of State and posted on its website on Thursday, the Department listed 18 Nigerian states that its citizens should avoid with a flat “do not travel” warning

The states on the warning list include Borno, Yobe, Kogi, and Adamawa States which were blacklisted due to terrorism and kidnapping, while Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara States, were designated for kidnapping.

Other states to be avoided, according to the advisory include Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Imo, and Rivers States due to crime, kidnapping, and armed gangs.

The US State Department also placed the states on its Level 4 categories for the highest risk zones, and 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 crimes such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping, hostage taking, roadside banditry, and rape, is common throughout the country,” the advisory reads

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. 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.

The last travel advisory the US Department issued on Nigeria was in August

The State Department had last issued a travel advisory on Nigeria was a “Level 3 – Reconsider Travel” warning in January where 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

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