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Insecurity: UK imposes travel ban to 20 states in Nigeria

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•Most Northeast, Northwest and South-South states affected

Senator Iroegbu

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of the United Kingdom has issued a warning advisory to its citizens against travelling to about 21 states in Nigeria over security concerns.

Most of the warnings updated on Monday, stems from the worsening insecurity occasioned by the terrorists activities of Boko Haram terrorists and Islamic State in West African Province (ISWAP) in the North East, armed banditry in the North West and militancy in the South South.

Global Sentinel had in May reported that the British government could ban travel to parts of Syria and West Africa including Nigeria in a bid to combat the problem of foreign fighters who join extremist organizations such as the Islamic State.

The announcement was made by the Home Secretary, Mr. Sajid Javid, that he was asking counter-terrorism officials to look into whether it would be appropriate to use the authority vested under a recently enacted law “in relation to Syria, with a particular focus on Idlib and the northeast.”

Also read: Islamic State: Britain proposes travel ban to parts of Nigeria, Syria

Here is the FCO’s terrorism section – addition of factual information about the travel warnings with specific reference to the multipleterrorist attacks in Konduga, Borno State on June 17, 2019.

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The FCO advised against all travel to:

  • Borno State
  • Yobe State
  • Adamawa State
  • Gombe State
  • riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States
  • within 20km of the border with Niger and Zamfara State

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to: 

  • Bauchi State
  • Zamfara State
  • Kano State
  • Kaduna State
  • Jigawa State
  • Katsina State
  • Kogi State
  • within 20km of the border with Niger in Sokoto and Kebbi States
  • non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers State
  • Abia State

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Nigeria. Most attacks occur in the north east, particularly in Borno (including central Maiduguri and along access routes connecting the city to other major towns and along the Niger border, including in Damasak), Yobe, including the eastern LGAs bordering Borno State both north and south of the Damaturu road), and Adamawa States. There have also been significant attacks in Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Jos and Bauchi States and in the Federal capital, Abuja. The terrorist threat across eastern Yobe and Borno State is high, with frequent recent attacks. Terrorist groups carried out attacks in North East Nigeria during the February 2019 election period, and further attacks are likely. We continue to advise against all travel to Borno and Yobe States.

On 23 February 2019, ISWA launched an attack involving indirect fire that resulted in explosions in multiple locations within Maiduguri.

You should avoid places where crowds gather, including political meetings, religious gatherings and places of worship, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants, transport hubs and camps for displaced people. Attacks could be indiscriminate and could affect western interests as well as places visited by tourists. Besides Abuja, other major towns and cities remain particularly at risk, including Kano and Kaduna. See Terrorism

There’s a high threat of kidnap throughout Nigeria. Kidnaps can be motivated by criminality or terrorism, and could be carried out for financial or political gain. See Terrorismand Criminal Kidnaps

The security environment in the north east has deteriorated since 2018 and there is a heightened risk of kidnap. Kidnaps in the north east have included humanitarian and private sector workers. There are also reports that Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) are continuing to actively plan to kidnap foreigners. As well as in north-east Nigeria, this is believed to include some northern and middle belt states including Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Niger and Adamawa. If you’re working or travelling in areas where there is a Boko Haram or ISWA presence, especially in the north-east of Nigeria, you should be aware of the risk of terrorist kidnapping.

There is also a high threat of criminal kidnap in the Niger Delta region and Kogi state.

If you travel to areas to which the FCO advise against travel, you are 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.

There have been recent attacks in Maiduguri, Baga, Monguno, Damasak and Rann in Borno State and in Gujba and Geidam LGAs in Yobe State. Further attacks are likely. We advise against all travel to Borno and Yobe States. See Local travel

A number of kidnappings, including of foreigners, took place in Kano city in April 2018. We advise against all but essential travel to Kano state. If you’re in or around Kano city, we recommend you take added precautions.

You should be aware of your surroundings and avoid large crowds and public demonstrations as they can turn violent unexpectedly and at short notice. Follow news reports and be alert to developments. If you become aware of any nearby unrest or disturbances, you should leave the area immediately. Violent crime is common. See Crime

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control confirmed an outbreak of Lassa fever on 22 January. For further information and advice see the NaTHNaC website.

UK health authorities have classified Nigeria as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Around 117,000 British nationals visit Nigeria each year. Most visits are trouble-free.

Before considering travel to areas to which the FCO advise against all or all but essential travel you should take professional security advice. Be vigilant at all times, keep others informed of your travel plans and vary your routines. If you’re working in Nigeria you should follow your employer’s security advice, make sure your accommodation is secure and review your security measures regularly. Consular support is offered in Nigeria although limited in areas where the FCO advise against all or all but essential travel.

Flash flooding can occur during the wet season (June to October). There is a greater risk from water-borne diseases during the rainy season. See Health

On 1 August 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo government confirmed an outbreak of Ebola in North Kivu province, originating in Beni territory. The latest updates can be found on the World Heath Organisation (WHO) website.

The outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo in August 2018 could result in some additional checks taking place at international airports in Nigeria. There are no direct flights from the Democratic Republic of Congo so these checks could be in place for any flight. This is a standard precaution and no a cause for alarm.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. Make sure your policy covers you for the type of travel you’re proposing to undertake.

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