The United States has issued a stern caution to its citizens, urging them to reconsider their plans to travel to Nigeria due to an escalated risk of crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and the presence of armed gangs across the country.
An updated travel advisory issued by the US Department of State on September 20 has categorized several Nigerian states as “Level 4: Do Not Travel.” These include Borno, Yobe, Kogi, and parts of Adamawa due to the high risk of terrorism and kidnapping, as well as Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara states due to the increased risk of kidnapping.
Similar warning levels have been assigned to Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Imo, and Rivers states (excluding Port Harcourt) due to concerns related to crime, kidnapping, and armed gangs.
The advisory emphasized that violent crimes such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping, hostage-taking, and rape are prevalent throughout Nigeria. Kidnappings for ransom are frequent, often targeting dual national citizens or US citizens with perceived wealth who have returned to Nigeria. The advisory also highlighted the collaboration between terrorists and local gangs to extend their influence and the fluid and unpredictable security situation in the stated regions.
Terrorist groups primarily located in the Northeast are actively plotting and executing attacks, targeting a range of locations such as shopping centers, markets, hotels, places of worship, transportation hubs, and more. The advisory also highlighted civil unrest, armed gangs, and criminality in Southern Nigeria, particularly in the Niger Delta and Southeast regions.
The State Department further noted that terrorist groups regularly target humanitarian camps, security forces, churches, schools, mosques, government installations, educational institutions, entertainment venues, and road travelers in the Northeast. This has led to the displacement of approximately two million Nigerians.
Lastly, the advisory underlined the limited ability of the Nigerian government to provide emergency services to US citizens in various parts of Nigeria due to prevailing security conditions. Travelers were urged to exercise increased caution and stay updated on the latest developments before planning any travel to Nigeria.