The United States’ Department of State has issued a statement cautioning its citizens from travelling to 20 out of 36 states within Nigeria. The department cited the fluid and unpredictable nature of security in the particular states as reason for the directive.
Top of the 20 states were the three north eastern states hardest hit by the Boko Haram insurgency; Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
‘‘The ability of the Mission to provide assistance to U.S. citizens in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states remains severely limited,’‘ the statement read. They further cautioned that in respect of the 17 others, citizens were recommended against all but essential travel to those states due to the risk of kidnappings, robberies and other armed attacks.
They listed them as follows: Bauchi, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, and Zamfara.
‘‘The Department also warns against travel in the Gulf of Guinea because of the threat of piracy. Based on safety and security risk assessments, the Embassy maintains restrictions for travel by U.S. officials to the states listed above; officials must receive advance clearance by the U.S. Mission for any travel to those states,’‘ the statement added.
The mission also warned citizens to be vigilant around government security facilities, churches, mosques, other places of worship and public gatherings.
‘‘Security measures in Nigeria remain heightened due to threats posed by extremist groups, and U.S. citizens may encounter police and military checkpoints, additional security, and possible road blocks throughout the country,’‘ they added.
American citizens were reminded that attacks by pirates off the coast of Nigeria had increased substantially in recent years. That coupled with robberies by armed gangs on commercial and private vessels made parts of the south as dangerous as the north.
‘‘The Nigerian Navy has limited capacity to respond to criminal acts at sea,’‘ the statement concluded. The August 3 statement is a revision of an earlier one issued in February 2016.