Richard Ginika Izuora
The United Kingdom (UK) on Tuesday, August 4, released a travel advisory to nationals residing in Nigeria over specific locations due to the current spate of insecurity.
This advisory, publicised on the official website of the UK Foreign Office, stated that “the Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.”
Also, the statement urged Britons against travelling to Borno State, Yobe State, Adamawa State, Gombe State, riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States and within 20km of the border with Niger in Zamfara State.
Furthermore, it advised against travelling to the following places except for essential reasons: The FCO advise against all but essential travel to: Bauchi State, Zamfara State, Kano State, Kaduna State, within 20km of the state border with Kaduna and Zamfara states in Niger State, west of the Kaduna River, 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
The UK Foreign Office further stated that the current insecurity in Nigeria has necessitated the temporal withdrawal of a small number of UK staff and dependents at the British High Commission in Abuja and the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos.
“Both locations will continue to carry out essential work including providing 24/7 consular assistance and support to British people in Nigeria,” the statement reads.
According to the UK advisory, terrorist attacks often happen in the north east, particularly in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States.
“Humanitarian hubs 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 the Federal capital, Abuja. Further attacks are likely,” the office warned.
It also revealed the high threat of kidnappings throughout the country which “can be motivated by criminality or terrorism and could be carried out for financial or political gain.
“Anecdotal evidence suggests that the risk of kidnap increases after dark. The security environment in the northeast has deteriorated since 2018 and there is a heightened risk of kidnap. Kidnaps in the northeast have included humanitarian and private-sector workers.”
The UK Foreign Office also revealed 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.”
It, therefore, warned its nationals to “be vigilant at all times and keep others informed of your travel plans 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.”
According to data provided by the website, “about 117,000 British nationals visit Nigeria each year and most visits are trouble-free.”