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UK to citizens: Don’t visit North, South-South Nigeria

The United Kingdom (UK) has advised its citizens in Nigeria against traveling to the North and South Southern states in the country, warning that they are not safe due to the current spate of insecurity.

In the North-East, the UK government warned its citizens to avoid travels to Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe states, and within 20km of the border with Niger.

It also urged them to avoid Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, Niger, Jigawa, Katsina Kogi, Abia and Rivers. Other states to avoid, according to the travel advisory, were: Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and the Cross River State.

The Kingdom issued the travel advisory, stating that multiple locations in Nigeria are not safe, due to the current spate of insecurity.

The travel advisory to its nationals residing in Nigeria was publicized on the official website of the UK Foreign Office, stating that “the Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.”

Furthermore, it advised Britons against travelling especially to these areas except for essential reasons, warning that the current insecurity in Nigeria had 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.

The UK Foreign Office, which confirmed that helicopter gunships have reportedly been operating in Kaduna State, targeting cross border banditry, said Al Qaeda linked terrorist groups have been reported to have been operating in Kaduna. “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 six people, kidnapped dozens, and destroyed several vehicles during an ambush along the Kaduna-Zaira highway in Kaduna State in mid-January,” the statement said. “Since January 2018, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has protested regularly in central Abuja and other cities. “Humanitarian hubs have been targeted during attacks in the northeast, 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 official warned.

“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 statement warned.

The statement 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.”

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