As a follow-up to the security alert that was issued to her citizens in Nigeria at the weekend, the United States (US) yesterday authorized the airlift of “non-emergency” employees and their family members in Nigeria.
The US state department announced the approval in an update on its Nigeria travel advisory. In a memo entitled ‘Nigeria travel advisory’ issued by the US Department of State – Bureau and Consular Affairs states, the US government said it has limited ability to provide emergency services to its citizens in many areas of Nigeria due to security conditions.
“Reconsider travel to Nigeria due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory. On October 25, 2022, the Department authorised the departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and family members due to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks.
“The U.S. Embassy Abuja continues to have limited ability to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in Nigeria. The U.S. Consulate in Lagos is providing all routine and emergency services to U.S. citizens in Nigeria,” the advisory stated.
The US warned its citizens against travelling to Borno, Yobe, and northern Adamawa states due to terrorism and kidnapping; Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, and Zamfara States due to kidnapping; and coastal areas of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, and Rivers States (with the exception of Port Harcourt) due to crime, kidnapping, and maritime crime
It added: “Violent crime – such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping, hostage taking, 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.
“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 low-level armed militancy in parts of Southern Nigeria, especially in the Niger Delta region. Armed criminality, including kidnapping and maritime crime, is also pervasive in this region. Violence can flare up between communities of farmers and herders in rural areas. There is frequent maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea.”
The evacuation authorisation comes days after the US and the UK warned of an elevated risk of terror attacks in the federal capital territory (FCT). However, the federal said the country is safer than before, citing the recent successes recorded by the armed forces in cracking down on non-state actors.