Mohammed Sambo Dasuki is a former Managing Director of Security
Printing & Minting Company Limited. A distinguished retired
Military Officer, he attended both American Universities, Washington DC
and George Washington University where he obtained a BA in
International Relations and MA in Security Policy Studies respectively.
He had his military training in several institutions in Nigeria and
abroad including: Nigerian Army School of Artillery, Oklahoma, U.S Army
Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth Kensas.
The Department of State warns U.S.
citizens of the risks of travel to Nigeria,
and continues to recommend that U.S.
citizens avoid all but essential travel to the following states because of the
risk of kidnappings, robberies, and other armed attacks: Bayelsa, Delta, Edo,
Plateau, Gombe, Yobe, Bauchi, Borno, and Kano
states. The Department also warns against travel to the Gulf
of Guinea because of the threat of
piracy. Violent crime remains a problem throughout the country and is
perpetrated by both individuals and gangs, as well as by persons wearing police
and military uniforms. Based on safety and security risk assessments, travel by
to all northern Nigerian states (in addition to those listed above) must
receive advance clearance by the U.S. Mission as being mission-essential. U.S.
citizens should be aware that in light of the continuing violence, extremists
may expand their operations beyond northern Nigeria
to the country’s southern states. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel
Warning for Nigeria
dated February 29, 2012, to
update information on the continued violent activities in the country.
On December 31, 2011,
the President of Nigeria declared a state of emergency in 15 local government
areas in the states ofBorno, Niger,
Plateau, and Yobe. This State of Emergency
remains in effect, although with modification in some areas. According to the
Government of Nigeria, the declaration of a State of Emergency
responds to activities of extremist groups. The State of Emergency
gives the government sweeping powers to search and arrest without warrants.
Retaliatory violence and protests continue in Kaduna
State following a series of church
bombings on June 17. In Damatura, Yobe
State, Nigerian police and security
forces have been fighting members of the extremist group Boko Haram since June
19. The government has imposed a 24 hour curfew for the city of Damaturu
and the entire state of Kaduna.
The risk of continued attacks against Western targets in Nigeria
remains high. Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for many attacks, mainly in
killing and wounding thousands of people. Multiple Suicide Vehicle-borne
Improvised Explosive Devices (SBVIEDs) targeting churches exploded June 17, in
the Kaduna State
cities of Kaduna and Zaria,
resulting in several deaths and injuries. Nigerian government forces and local
extremists exchanged gunfire in Maiduguri,
in an hours-long confrontation on June 7. On June 10, a Vehicle-borne
Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) exploded in Jos, Plateau
State, and extremists shot at
people at a church in Biu Town,
with casualties resulting from both attacks. On April 29, assailants attacked
the Theatre Hall on the campus of Bayero University of Kano with improvised
explosive devices (IED) and gun shots, killing at least eight people and
wounding several others. On April 26, a VBIED simultaneously
detonated at “This Day” newspaper in Abuja
and the same newspaper’s offices in Kaduna.
On the evening of April 24, an IED went off at a Jos sports bar,
injuring at least four people. On April 8, a VBIED exploded at a roundabout
close to a church in Kaduna,
killing at least 20. At least two people died and dozens sustained injuries
when a VBIED exploded at a church in Jos on March 11. On February 7, the Boko
Haram extremist sect claimed responsibility for three simultaneous attacks on
Nigerian military targets across Kaduna
that killed or injured dozens of people. In addition,eleven people died during
a January 22, gun battle and bomb attacks in Bauchi, Bauchi
State. On January 20, elements of
Boko Haram claimed responsibility for multiple explosive attacks and assaults
against eight different government facilities in Kano.
The attacks lasted several hours and claimed hundreds of lives in the most
deadly attack yet by Boko Haram members in Nigeria.
Boko Haram continued attacks in January and February, focusing on Borno, Yobe,
Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, and Kaduna
states, and the group continues to publicly threaten attacks throughout
Extremists conducted other high-profile bombings in Abuja
over the past two years. Boko Haram claimed credit for an August 2011 suicide
bombing that killed 25 at the UN Headquarters building, a June 2011 bombing at
the Nigerian Police Headquarters building, and a December 2010 bombing at a
“fish bar.” The Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta took credit for
two car bombs that detonated during Nigeria’s
Independence Day celebrations in 2010.
Kidnappings remain another security concern. In May 2012, criminals
kidnapped an Italian national in Kwara
State. In April 2012, criminals
kidnapped a U.S.
citizen in Imo State
and a Spanish citizen in Enugu State
in separate incidents. In January 2012, kidnappers abducted a U.S.
citizen from his vehicle in Warri (Delta
State) and killed his security
guard. Assailants kidnapped a German citizen, also in January 2012, along a
road in Kano. The German citizen
was killed by his captors on May 31 during a military-led raid. In 2011, five
kidnappings of U.S.
citizens reportedly occurred in Nigeria.
The most recent took place in November when pirates abducted two U.S.
citizens, along with a Mexican national, in international waters off the
Nigerian coast and held them captive for over two weeks in the Niger Delta.
Other kidnappings have occurred in Lagos
and Imo States.
Also, elements of Boko Haram kidnapped a British national and an Italian
national in Kebbi State
in May 2011. Their captors shot and killed them on March 8, 2012, when Nigerian and British security forces
attempted to rescue them. Since January 2009, criminals have abducted over 140
foreign nationals in Nigeria,
including seven U.S.
citizens since November 2010. Six foreign nationals died during these
abductions, while two U.S.
citizens died in separate kidnapping attempts in Port
Harcourt in April 2010. Local authorities and
expatriate businesses operating in Nigeria
assert that the number of kidnapping incidents throughout Nigeria
have remained underreported.
Travel by foreigners to areas considered by the Nigerian government to be
conflict areas should not occur without prior consultation and coordination
with local security authorities. The Nigerian government may view such travel
as inappropriate and potentially illegal, and it may detain violators. In 2008,
Nigerian authorities detained six U.S.
citizens, including journalists, on six occasions, in areas where militant
groups had operated. The Nigerian government interrogated these U.S.
citizens for lengthy periods of time without lodging formal charges against
them before their eventual deportation. Journalists must obtain a special
accreditation from the Ministry of Information prior to traveling to conflict
areas in the Niger Delta region in addition to obtaining a general press
accreditation and valid Nigerian visa required to conduct such activities
elsewhere in Nigeria.
Many foreign oil companies operating in the Niger Delta states of Akwa Ibom,
Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers have implemented “essential travel only” policies
for their personnel. The U.S. Mission requires advance permission for U.S.
government travel to these states, as well as the states of Abia, Adamawa,
Bauchi, Borno, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger,
Sokoto, Zamfara Plateau, Gombe, Kano, and Yobe, given the safety and security
risk assessments and the limited ability of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
General to provide assistance to individuals detained by Nigerian authorities
in these states. Due to recent violent activity, the U.S. Mission has
temporarily restricted all but the most essential travel by U.S.
government personnel to northern Nigeria.
All official travel to northern Nigerian states must receive advance permission
by the Mission and be deemed
mission-essential to be granted.
Nigeria is a
multi-ethnic, multi-religious society in which different ethnic and religious
groups often live in the same area. A number of northern states have
experienced violence in the past year exacerbating tensions along those lines.
visitors and residents have experienced armed muggings, assaults, burglaries,
car-jackings, rapes, kidnappings, and extortion -- often involving violence.
Home invasions also remain a serious threat, with armed robbers accessing even
guarded compounds by scaling perimeter walls; following or tailgating residents
or visitors arriving by car into the compound; and subduing guards and gaining
entry into homes or apartments. Armed robbers in Lagos
also accessed waterfront compounds by boat. U.S.
citizens, as well as Nigerians and other expatriates, have become victims of
armed robbery at banks and grocery stores and on airport roads during both
daylight and evening hours. An extremists’ organization's modus operandi is to
attack banking institutions. Law enforcement authorities usually respond slowly
or not at all, and provide little or no investigative support to victims. U.S.
citizens, Nigerians, and other expatriates have experienced harassment and
shakedowns at checkpoints and during encounters with Nigerian law enforcement
officials. Traveling outside of major cities after dark is not recommended due
to both crime and road safety concerns. Attacks by pirates off the coast of Nigeria
in the Gulf of Guinea
have increased in recent years. Armed gangs have boarded both commercial and
private vessels to rob travelers. The Nigerian Navy has limited capacity to
respond to criminal acts at sea.
The situation in the country remains fluid and unpredictable. The U.S.
Department of State strongly urges U.S.
citizens in Nigeria
to consider their own personal security and to keep personal safety in the
forefront of their planning.