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UK advises citizens against travel to 21 states

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THE United Kingdom has urged its citizens not to travel to certain parts of Nigeria as a result of insurgent activities, kidnapping, and general insecurity.

This warning is contained in a report by its Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which promotes the best interests of UK citizens by providing travel advice.

The report, last updated on Monday, particularly mentioned 21 states including Adamawa, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Gombe, FCT, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara.

“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Nigeria,” the report stated. “Most attacks occur in the northeast, particularly in Borno (including central Maiduguri and along access routes connecting the city to other major towns and along the Niger border, including in Damasak), Yobe (including the eastern LGAs bordering Borno State both north and south of the Damaturu road), and Adamawa States.”

“There have also been significant attacks in Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Jos and Bauchi States and in the Federal capital, Abuja. The terrorist threat across eastern Yobe and Borno State is high, with frequent recent attacks. We continue to advise against all travel to Borno and Yobe States.

“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. 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.”

The FCO also noted that “there’s a high threat of kidnap throughout Nigeria”.

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“Kidnaps can be motivated by criminality or terrorism and could be carried out for financial or political gain,” it said.

“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.

“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, this is believed to include some northern and middle belt states including Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Niger, and Adamawa.

“If you’re working or travelling in areas where there is a Boko Haram or ISWA presence, especially in the north-east of Nigeria, you should be aware of the risk of terrorist kidnapping. There is also a high threat of criminal kidnap in the Niger Delta region and Kogi State.”

The report warned that travelling to these places is highly risky and will require a high level of security. Those working especially in northern Nigeria, the UK government said, need to have regularly updated security arrangements with their employers.

'Kunle works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via [email protected] or, if you're feeling particularly generous, follow him on Twitter @KunleBajo.

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