U.S puts 18 Nigerian States on volatility list, warns citizens against travelling to affected States

Two days after the United States Deputy Treasury Secretary, Wally Adeyemo visited Nigeria as part of U.S. efforts to strengthen economic ties between both countries and a day after President Bola Tinubu, who travelled to the U.S. for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), advised Nigerians in abroad to return home, the U.S. government has warned its citizens to reconsider travelling to Nigeria due to increased risk of crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed gangs in the country.

An updated travel advisory issued on September 20 by the U.S. Department of State included a flat “do not travel” warning for Borno, Yobe, Kogi, and Adamawa states due to terrorism and kidnapping; Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara states due to kidnapping.

A similar travel advisory was issued for Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Imo, and Rivers states (with the exception of Port Harcourt) due to crime, kidnapping, and armed gangs.


While placing these states on Level 4 – the highest risk category, the U.S. 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.

The travel advisory, which carpets 18 states in all, excludes Lagos, 17 other states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“Violent crime, such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping, hostage taking, roadside banditry, and rape – is common throughout the country. 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”, the advisory read.

“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 State Department had last issued a travel advisory on August 2 to Niger, which is same Level 4 – Do Not Travel warning, owing to the July 26 coup which deposed President Mohamed Bazoum, placing him on house arrest, a situation that led to the immediate evacuation of non-emergency government employees from the country.

On January 20, this year, in its previous alert on Nigeria, the State Department had updated its travel advisory to Level 3 –Reconsider Travel.

However, in its updated advisory, 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. Approximately two million Nigerians have been displaced as a result of the violence in Northeast Nigeria.

The State Department further cautioned its citizens that the government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Nigeria due to security conditions.


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