By John Ikani
American citizens and other expatriates considering travelling to Nigeria have been advised to reconsider their trip.
The Travel Advisory issued by the US State Department dated January 4, 2022, warned that kidnappers now targeted citizens with dual nationalities.
While noting that American citizens with perceived wealth were also targets for kidnappers, the advisory also listed some states US citizens should not travel to or stay vigilant when visiting.
The states include Borno, Yobe, and Northern Adamawa because “the security situation in these states is fluid and unpredictable due to widespread terrorist activity, inter-communal violence, and kidnapping. Security operations to counter these threats may occur without warning.”
It added that travel to Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, and Zamfara states should be reconsidered due to roadside banditry and unexpected counter-attacks from security agencies.
The US also warned that the danger is not restricted to the northern part of the country listing coastal areas such as Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, and Rivers states (with the exception of Port Harcourt) as places US citizens should avoid travelling to.
What the advisory is saying
The advisory read in part: “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.
“Terrorist groups based in the Northeast routinely target humanitarian camps, security forces, churches, schools, mosques, government installations, educational institutions, entertainment venues, and road travellers.
“Crime is rampant throughout Southern Nigeria, and there is a heightened risk of kidnapping and maritime crime, especially in the Gulf of Guinea. Violent civil unrest and armed militancy persist in these areas.”