Safety and security
The risk of domestic terrorism, including suicide bomb attacks, is high. A number of groups operate in Nigeria including Boko Haram, a loosely organised Islamist insurgency which has been responsible for a high number of attacks including suicide bomb attacks at markets, motor parks (public transport depots), schools and religious institutions.
Attacks could be indiscriminate and could take place on a variety of targets including government, security and educational institutions, international organisations as well as public venues and areas such as restaurants, bars, markets, hotels, shopping centres, places of worship and other areas frequented by expatriates, foreign tourists and business travellers. Travellers to Nigeria should take precautions, pay careful attention to local news and be prepared to change their travel plans at short notice.
Due to the threat of domestic terrorism, under no circumstances should you travel to the north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe and their neighbouring states of Bauchi and Gombe. (To put this in context, the distance from Damatru city in Yobe to Lagos is approximately 1425 km, and that from Maiduguri city in Borno state to Abuja is some 815 km. The distance from Malin Head to Mizen Head is 668 km.) While this advice may seem extreme, there is an on-going insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria which has the potential to spill-over at any time into surrounding states. Moreover, borders between Nigeria and Cameroon, Chad and Niger are extremely porous, particularly during the rainy season, which facilitates the movement of criminal gangs, drug traffickers and radical groups. Be aware that the land border with Cameroon is currently closed.
If you have essential business in the northern or Middle Belt states of Nigeria we advise you to contact the Embassy of Ireland in Abuja well in advance of your trip.
Violent crime, including muggings, kidnappings, car-jackings and armed robberies are prevalent throughout Nigeria and Irish citizens travelling in Nigeria are strongly advised to take precautions, including refraining from conspicuous displays of wealth. You should also take care after dark within cities, avoiding secondary roads and areas where other traffic is light. Travel at night in the outskirts of cities and towns should also be avoided. You are advised to be particularly vigilant when sitting in traffic jams or at traffic lights at night. Keep your car windows and doors locked and valuables out of sight.
There is a significant risk to western travellers in Nigeria from kidnappers, particularly to those working in the oil and gas sectors. Kidnapping in Nigeria is carried out both by criminal gangs for financial reasons, particularly in the south of the country. In the past year, there have also been a low number of politically motivated kidnappings in the north of the country. We currently advise against all travel to the coastal and river areas of the ‘south-south’ states (Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states), to Warri city in Delta state and to Okene Local Government Area in Kogi state.
Western travellers in Nigeria are advised to take particular precautions to avoid kidnapping including:
- Avoid travelling at night, particularly inter-city
- Avoid travelling alone
- When driving, ensure all car doors are locked
- Vary routes and departure times – avoid patterns which could be tracked
- Pay careful attention to local media for reports of kidnapping activities
- Have the name and phone number of the person collecting you from the Airport
There have been armed robberies and kidnapping attacks against ships that anchor in Nigerian waters, as well as in rivers and ports in the Niger Delta. We advise mariners and sailors to take appropriate caution whilst in these areas and to ensure that their employer has a contingency plan for such an occurrence.
The majority of roads in Nigeria are in poor condition with many unpaved, unmarked and without street lighting. Inter-city roads in particular tend to be poorly maintained. Local drivers can behave more erratically than in Ireland and accordingly a high degree of caution when travelling by road in Nigeria is advised.
There are high numbers of authorised and unauthorised vehicle checkpoints throughout Nigeria. Some are for security checks, others to extort small payments of money. You should slow down at any type of checkpoint and use common sense at all times. The number of these checkpoints increases at night.
Public transport is dangerous and we advise against its use. Taxis and long distance buses are poorly maintained and travellers who use them expose themselves to the risk of theft or attack from drivers and other passengers. Travellers should in particular ensure that they have pre-arranged travel from their destination airport before travelling to Nigeria and should avoid using public transport from an airport. Make sure that you have the name and phone number of the person collecting you from the Airport.
Travellers should note that there are concerns about the safety and reliability of some airline companies operating domestic flights within Nigeria. Irish citizens should carefully evaluate the implications for their security and safety before deciding to undertake domestic air travel. Also domestic flights are frequently cancelled at short notice and travellers should consider direct international flights in to Nigeria rather than transiting domestically. There are often lengthy flight delays, particularly flights later in the day.
In order to make an informed decision on your travel plans please check the attached website Aviation Safety network.
Wed, 15 Feb 2017 10:37:20 GMT