Richard Ginika Izuora
Citizens of the United Kingdom, UK, have been placed on high alert, as their government informs them that going by trends in Nigeria it is no longer safe for them to move freely.
The UK government sounded this warning in an updated travel advisory on Monday September 6, to its citizens, warning against the possibility of violence in some parts of the country.
The advisory pointed to threat of attacks by terrorist groups and abductions by armed bandits in parts of Nigeria.
UK government listed states where such activities occur regularly to include, Borno, Bayelsa, Adamawa, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara; as well as riverine areas of Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States.
It warned against travel to Bauchi, Kano, Jigawa, Niger, Sokoto, Kogi; as well as within 20km of the border with Niger in Kebbi State’ Abia State and non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers States.
The warning said, “Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Nigeria. Most attacks are conducted by Boko Haram or Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) and occur in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States in the North East.
”The groups have previously shown intent and capability to conduct kidnaps in Nigeria. Foreign nationals, including humanitarian workers, are likely targets for kidnap. Humanitarian hubs and humanitarian workers have been targeted during attacks in the North East; including Monguno, Borno State on 13 June 2020.
”There have also been significant attacks in Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Jos and Bauchi States and in … Abuja. Further attacks are likely. Attacks could be indiscriminate and could affect western interests; as well as places visited by tourists. 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.
”The al Qaeda-linked terrorist group Jamaat al Ansar al Muslimeen fi Bilad al Sudan; better known as Ansaru, claims to have killed at least 6 people, kidnapped dozens, and destroyed several vehicles; during an ambush along the Kaduna-Zaira highway in Kaduna State in mid-January 2020. If you decide to travel to Kaduna State; you should avoid regular patterns of travel or movement, and aim to only travel during daylight hours.
”There’s a high threat of kidnap throughout Nigeria. Kidnaps can be motivated by criminality or terrorism, and could be carried out for ideological, financial or political gain. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the risk of kidnap increases after dark. The security environment in the North East has deteriorated since 2018…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; extremist groups operate in some northern and middle belt states; including Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Kogi, Kaduna, Niger and Adamawa States. If you’re working or travelling in these States then you should be aware of the risk of terrorist kidnapping,”.
The advisory also made reference to the directive by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) which mandated telecommunication operators to cease services in Zamfara State for two weeks.
It also noted that there is an increased likelihood of protests and demonstrations in the South East that may also affect other regions.
‘’You should monitor local media, avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings and follow any instructions from local police and security forces. There have been a number of attacks and targeted killings in the South East and South South regions of Nigeria; including in the states of Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Imo, Abia, Anambra, Delta, Edo and Ebonyi. Some of these attacks have been on isolated roads and in remote locations; but there is a chance that they could occur in metropolitan areas.
”There is also a heightened risk of indiscriminate attacks on police and security infrastructure; which may inadvertently affect bystanders. A number of states have imposed curfews. Travelers to these regions are advised to exercise caution if travelling in remote areas at night and follow local news and information outlets for further information, including on local curfews.”