Tuesday 7th June 2022
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SAFETY AND SECURITY
6 November, 2021
Live Report Level - B
Governorship elections are due to take place in Anambra State on November 6 2021. Vehicle movement within the state will be restricted and travel into and out of the State prevented during the election. There is often a heightened risk of violence around elections. You should monitor local media for updates, and follow any instructions from local police and security forces.
5 November, 2021
THREATH LEVEL - C
Stay Home: Avoid travelling unless is absolutely necessary
Since 9 August, there has been an increase in protests and demonstrations in the South East region of Nigeria. Protests, including "Stay at Home" protests, remain likely in the South East region. There have been reports of violence during Stay at Home protests previously. You should monitor local media, avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings and follow any instructions from local police and security forces.
There have been a number of attacks and targeted killings in the South East and South South regions of Nigeria, including in the states of Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Imo, Abia, Anambra, Delta, Edo and Ebonyi. Some of these attacks have been on isolated roads and in remote locations, but there is a chance that they could occur in metropolitan areas. There is also a heightened risk of indiscriminate attacks on police and security infrastructure, which may inadvertently affect bystanders. A number of states have imposed curfews. Travellers to these regions are advised to exercise caution if travelling in remote areas at night and follow local news and information outlets for further information, including on local curfews.
On 5 April, Owerri prison in Imo State was attacked. Reports suggest over 1,800 prisoners escaped. You should be extra vigilant if in the area.
The Nigerian police launched 'Operation Restore Peace' on 19 May to deal with the recent increase in insecurity in South South and South Eastern states. This may lead to an enhanced security presence on the ground. There is no indication as to how long this operation will last. You should exercise caution whilst travelling in the region.
During October 2020, there were a number of large-scale protests (known as #EndSARS protests) in Abuja, Lagos and other locations across Nigeria. Strikes over workers' rights in Kaduna State started on 17 May 2021. Protests have occurred and disruptions to transport and utilities have been reported. You should remain vigilant, avoid demonstrations, protests or large gatherings and pay attention to local media and social media reports on protest locations.
In January 2020, the al Qaeda-linked terrorist group Jamaat al Ansar al Muslimeen fi Bilad al Sudan, better known as Ansaru, claimed to have killed at least six people, kidnapped dozens, and destroyed several vehicles during an ambush along the Kaduna-Zaira highway in Kaduna State. You should avoid regular patterns of travel or movement, and aim to only travel during daylight hours.
Residents are strongly advised to remain indoors being security conscious protester are strongly encouraged to be civil and law-abiding in all doings.
Since January 2018, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has protested regularly in central Abuja and other cities. These protests, particularly in Abuja, have the potential to turn violent. Local media reported a fatality on 21 January 2020 when police allegedly fired gunshots and tear gas to disperse protesters near the Berger roundabout in Wuse, Abuja. Tensions remain heightened. You should monitor local media, avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings and follow any instructions from local police and security forces.
Incidents of inter-communal violence occur frequently throughout Nigeria, particularly in the middle belt states. Attacks can occur without warning. Although foreign nationals are not normally targeted, there is a risk you could be caught in an attack. You should be alert to local government announcements and media reporting.
Political rallies, protests and violent demonstrations can occur with little notice throughout the country. International news events can sometimes trigger anti-Western demonstrations. There is the potential for increased tension on Fridays. Keep yourself informed of developments and if you encounter a threatening or intimidating situation, don't try to make your way through it. Turn round and move to safety.
If you're working in Nigeria, you should follow your employer's local security guidelines. You are strongly advised to take professional security advice, be vigilant at all times and review your security measures regularly. Keep others informed of your travel plans and vary your routines. Make sure your accommodation is secure and consider pre-deployment training or travelling under close protection.
Be vigilant and take local advice on areas to avoid. Take particular care if you're visiting crowded public places or attending events which attract large crowds. Criminals often use these situations as cover for robbery and theft.
The FCDO advise against all travel to Borno State, Yobe State, Adamawa State, Gombe State, Kaduna State, Katsina State, and Zamfara State. Violent attacks are frequent and there is a high threat of kidnap. There is a threat from extremists linked to Boko Haram or ISWA in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States in particular. The threat level in North East Nigeria including around Maiduguri is increasing, particularly around transport hubs, religious areas and large gatherings. Kidnaps have taken place along the roads in and out of Maiduguri. As the dry season starts in October, this risk is expected to increase even further. See Criminal kidnaps and Terrorism.
If the security situation in Maiduguri were to deteriorate any further, there is a significant likelihood that it could be extremely difficult for you to leave the city. We do not advise travelling by road.
The FCDO advise against all but essential travel to: Bauchi State, Kano State, Jigawa State, Niger State, Sokoto State; and within 20km of the border with Niger in Kebbi State. There is a high risk of violent attacks and inter-communal tensions can lead to outbreaks of violence. There is also a threat of kidnap. See Criminal kidnaps.
If you travel to areas to which the FCDO advise against travel, you're particularly at risk and will need a high level of security. If you're working in northern Nigeria you should make sure your employers provide an adequate level of security where you live and where you work. Make sure they regularly review security arrangements and familiarise yourself with those plans. You should avoid regular patterns of travel or movement, and aim to travel only during daylight hours. Westerners have been kidnapped from protected compounds.
From 3 September 2021, the Nigerian Commission mandated for all telecommunication operators in Nigeria to stop extending services to Zamfara State. This includes a suspension of all mobile telecommunications including WiFi. A number of other state governments, including Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger have also implemented a partial shutdown of telecom services. There are reports that other states in North West and North Central Nigeria may follow with their own suspensions. These shutdowns regularly target interstate border areas, but may also be extended without advanced notice to include other areas.
Although not officially included in the suspension, there is a possibility that areas of neighbouring states to Zamfara, including state border regions with Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger and Kaduna may also be affected by the telecommunications black-out.
Regular military operations are ongoing in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. If you live or work in Nigeria you should monitor developments in these states and announcements by the state governments as there is an increased threat of retaliatory attacks elsewhere in Nigeria as a result of these military operations.
There has been an increase in insurgent attacks in Borno State. Since October 2019, there has been an increasing trend of terrorist groups constructing illegal vehicle checkpoints on major supply and commercial routes in Northern Nigeria and attacking vehicles travelling on major roads into Maiduguri, Borno State, including the A3 Maiduguri-Damaturu road. These attacks have directly targeted civilians, security forces and aid workers. Furthermore, 2020 has seen increased activity by terrorist groups and related violent incidents in the immediate vicinity of humanitarian hubs. A humanitarian hub was targeted during an attack on Monguno town on 13 June 2020. This was followed by negative propaganda about humanitarian activity in the North East. In July 2020, shots were fired at a UN humanitarian helicopter in the region. Local humanitarian staff were executed in an unrelated event.
If you're in the North East against FCDO advice, keep in touch with the authorities and the wider community on the security situation and make sure your procedures and contingency plans are up to date. If you are working in the North East of Nigeria you should be fully confident in your employer's ability to extract you from the North East in the event of any emergency.
The Niger Delta States
The FCDO advise against all travel to the riverine areas (ie the river and swamp locations accessible by boat, but not by road) of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States.
The FCDO advise against all but essential travel to Abia State and non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers States.
Militant groups are active across the Niger Delta region and have carried out a number of attacks on oil and gas infrastructure. There's a high risk of armed robbery, criminality and criminal kidnap in the Niger Delta region.
Additional checks are in place at the Nigeria-Benin, Nigeria-Niger and Nigeria-Cameroon land borders. If you're planning to make a land crossing from Nigeria, check with the local authorities for the latest information before travelling.
There's a high threat of terrorist and criminal kidnaps in Nigeria. Since 2019, there has been an increase in kidnaps for ransom by criminal gangs in Northern Nigeria.
Those engaged in tourism, humanitarian aid work, journalism or business are viewed as legitimate targets. If you are kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as protection or secure your safe release. Incidents of criminal kidnap can occur in any part of the country, at any time, with an increased risk in:
the northern and Middle Belt states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Nassarawa, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara
the Niger Delta states of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo and Rivers
Criminal groups target whole communities or individuals, sometimes along major highways. Since 2019, this has been particularly prevalent on the Abuja - Kaduna highway. It also occurs along the Enugu-Awka-Onitsha expressway in Anambra.
Travellers wishing to travel to any of the locations above should be alert to the threat if kidnap, and pay attention to local government announcements and media reporting.
British nationals may be targeted. In the past 5 years several foreign nationals, including British nationals, have been kidnapped and in some cases killed. Most of these kidnaps occurred in the Niger Delta region. There is a high threat of kidnapping and other armed attacks targeting oil and gas facilities and workers in the Niger Delta region. This also applies to facilities at sea. British nationals of Nigerian origin visiting friends and relatives are often perceived as being wealthier than locals and are at particular risk of kidnap for ransom.
The great majority of kidnapping victims remain ordinary Nigerians. Foreigners as well as Nigerian businessmen, traditional rulers and politicians are often targeted in the expectation of a high ransom reward. When arranging meetings in Nigeria make sure those who attend are known to you and hold the meeting at a secure location.
The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) also makes payments to terrorists illegal.
There have been a number of attacks and targeted killings in the South East and South South regions of Nigeria, including in the states of Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Imo, Abia, Anambra, Delta, Edo and Ebonyi. A number of states have imposed curfews. Travelers to these regions are advised to exercise caution if travelling in remote areas at night and follow local news and information outlets for further information, including on local curfews.
Curfews and restrictions on the movement of vehicles, can be imposed, amended and lifted at short notice throughout Nigeria.
Failure to comply with all curfews and movement restrictions could put you at significant risk. You should check with the local authorities or someone with local knowledge for up to date information on curfews and restrictions before you travel.
There have been armed robberies and incidents of piracy in Nigerian waters, the wider Gulf of Guinea, and on the rivers and harbours in the Niger Delta area. Mariners should seek professional security advice, be vigilant and take appropriate precautions.
Throughout Nigeria there are high levels of violent street crime including muggings, kidnappings, car-jackings and armed robbery.
Criminals have targeted visiting British nationals as their perceived wealth makes them an attractive victim.
You should be vigilant at all times, even if staying with friends and family, follow the security guidance offered by employers or hosts and limit road travel at night as far as possible. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and don't wear valuable watches, jewellery or items of sentimental value. If you suspect danger, move to a safer area.
There are reports of criminal intent to target areas around international hotels in Abuja. It is likely that these potential attacks would be carried out by armed gangs. At this time of heightened threat, avoid loitering outside hotel security cordons and be extra vigilant when travelling in their vicinity.
If you're caught up in an armed robbery, you should immediately comply with the attackers' demands. Those who have suffered injury or worse during such attacks have been perceived as not complying fully or quickly enough.