The United States Government has asked its citizens living in Nigeria to stay away from twenty of the country’s 36 states which it described as unsafe. The US Government, in an advisory published online on Wednesday, cited Borno, Adamawa and Yobe as a complete no-go area.
It further listed Bauchi, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, and Zamfara as unsafe areas.
The statement particularly urged vigilance around government security facilities; churches, mosques, other places of worship; locations where large crowds may gather such as hotels, clubs, bars, restaurants, markets, shopping malls; and other areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
The condition was in line with the severely limited ability of the US Mission to provide assistance to US citizens in those states and the risk of kidnappings, robberies, and other armed attacks, noting that criminals or militants have abducted foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, from off-shore and land-based oil facilities, residential compounds, airports, and public roadways.
It noted that kidnappings remained a security concern throughout Nigeria, as criminal elements across the country orchestrated kidnappings for ransom.
“Security measures in Nigeria remain heightened due to threats posed by extremist groups, and U.S. 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.”
“The Department also warns against travel in the Gulf of Guinea, because of the threat of piracy. Attacks by pirates off the coast of Nigeria in the Gulf of Guinea have increased substantially in recent years. Armed gangs have boarded both commercial and private vessels to rob travellers.
“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.
“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.
“U.S citizens are advised to avoid the areas of these states where these incidents have occurred,” the statement added.
The travel warning replaced an earlier one dated February 5, 2016.