Following the postponement of general elections in Nigeria, the United Kingdom warns against visiting the country and advises her citizens already in Nigeria to avoid non-essential travels across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office listed the states of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe and the riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States including 20km around the border with Niger Republic in Zamfara State as places not to be visited at all.
The travel ban which is published on the https://www.gov.uk website of the UK Government also advises against all but essential travel to Bauchi, Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina, Kogi and Abia States. Also included in this category are anywhere “within 20km of the border with Niger in Sokoto and Kebbi States, non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers States”.
Nevertheless, British nationals “planning to travel over the election period” are strongly advised to factor potential disruption or changes at short notice into their travel plans, and keep up to date with the latest travel information from their airline or transport provider in addition to the travel ban and monitoring of updates from the twitter handle of the British High Commission in Nigeria @UKInNigeria.
The United Kingdom observes that “in the run up to the elections, protests in Abuja and other Nigerian cities including Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara and Rivers are becoming increasingly frequent. Public gatherings and demonstrations may take place at short notice and have the potential to turn violent”. Consequently, her citizens have been told to “continue to avoid rallies, public gatherings and demonstrations, and monitor local media”.
They are to also avoid places where crowds gather, including religious gatherings and places of worship, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants, transport hubs and camps for displaced people. There are concerns that “attacks could be indiscriminate and could affect western interests as well as places visited by tourists. Besides Abuja, other major towns and cities remain particularly at risk, including Kano and Kaduna”.
There is also intelligence that Boko Haram “terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Nigeria”. Most attacks occur in the north east, particularly in Borno (including central Maiduguri and along access routes connecting the city to other major towns), Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe States. There have also been significant attacks in Kano, Kaduna, Jos and Bauchi States and in the Federal Capital, Abuja.
In a related development, the United States of America had also issued a travel ban for her citizens on February 5. The US Department of State warns travelers to reconsider travel to Nigeria due to elections, crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and piracy observing that some areas have increased risk. Americans who have been placed on Level 4 security alert concerning Nigeria are specifically advised “not to travel to Borno and Yobe States and northern Adamawa State due to terrorism”. The United States Government says it “has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Nigeria due to security conditions”