The United Kingdom government in its latest travel advice has warned its citizens in Nigeria against visiting 12 states in the country over high level of insecurity.
The warning is coming amid the possibility of terror attacks in some parts of Nigeria and heightened insecurity due to events to mark the one year anniversary of the #EndSARS protest.
The advisory warning by the UK government is contained in a statement issued through its Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and published on its website, where it expressed concern over protests and a heightened security presence in major cities due to the trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
The foreign government also urged its citizens to monitor local media, and avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings.
The states that the FCDO advised its citizens against travelling to include Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara and riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River.
The FCDO also advised against all but essential travel to: Bauchi, Kano, Jigawa, Niger, Sokoto and Kogi and areas within 20 kilometres of the border with Niger in Kebbi State, and Abia State.
UK said that events to mark the one year anniversary of #EndSARS protests are likely to take place nationally, the week commencing October 18.
The advisory stated, “There may be protests and a heightened security presence in major cities such as Lagos and Abuja. In parallel, the high profile trial date of a separatist leader is also scheduled for 21 October in Abuja. There may be additional protests and a heightened security presence in Abuja and in the South-east for this reason. In all areas affected, you should monitor local media, and avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings.
‘’From 3 September 2021, the Nigerian Commission mandated for all telecommunication operators in Nigeria to stop extending services to Zamfara State. This includes a suspension of all mobile telecommunications including WiFi. A number of other state governments, including Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger have also implemented a partial shutdown of telecom services.
“Since 9 August, there has been an increase in protests and demonstrations in the South-east region of Nigeria. Protests, including “Stay at Home” protests, are likely during October in the South-east region. There have been reports of violence during Sit-at-Home protests previously. You should monitor local media, avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings and follow any instructions from local police and security forces.’’
The statement noted there has been a number of attacks and targeted killings in the South-east and South-south regions, including in the states of Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Imo, Abia, Anambra, Delta, Edo and Ebonyi with some of them on isolated roads and in remote locations.
It, however, added that there is a chance that they could occur in metropolitan areas.
It added, “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.’’
What you should know
Nigeria has been bedevilled with serious security challenges for a couple of years ranging from terrorism to banditry, kidnapping, farmer herdsmen clashes, insecurity as a result of IPOB activities among others.
The Nigerian police launched ‘Operation Restore Peace’ on May 19 to deal with the recent increase in insecurity in South-South and South-Eastern states.
On December 15, 2020, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) announced that mobile SIMs must be linked to the Nigerian Identification Number (NIN) of the SIM user. This applies to all residents including foreign nationals.
The NCC recently at the request of the Nigerian security forces, shut down telecommunication services in some parts of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna states as part of operational strategy in the fight against bandits and kidnappers in the North West.