Canada asks citizens to avoid Nigeria over insecurity
Lists hot spots of terrorism, kidnapping, others
The Canadian government has listed Nigeria as a high-risk area for its citizens, urging them to avoid all travels to the country.
According to Canada, the security situation in Nigeria is unpredictable given the significant risk of terrorism and kidnapping and other crimes.
In its official global travel advisories seen by The Guardian, the Canadian government urged its citizen to specifically avoid all travel to North-western states of Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Soko and Zamfara; North-Central state of Plateau; North-eastern states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa and Yobe; Niger Delta states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers and South eastern states of Anambra and Imo, as well as Abuja, Calabar and Lagos.
Canada noted that kidnapping of foreigners and Nigerians occur throughout Nigeria, many have been held captive, sometimes for days, until ransom was paid, and deaths have also been reported. It further stated that throughout the Niger Delta states, some westerners, mainly oil and gas facility workers, have been abducted, and, in some cases, killed.
It urged its citizen to be vigilant in Warri, Delta State; Port Harcourt, Rivers State; Abia, Anambra and Imo states. “Kidnappings for ransom targeting Westerners have increased in the affluent areas of Lagos and the surrounding states of Ogun, Osun and Ondo.”
Canada urged its citizens to exercise a high degree of caution in Abuja and in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, where the security situation is more stable and facilities are relatively well developed compared to the rest of the country.
The travel advice reads in part: “Avoid non-essential travel to the rest of Cross River State, including the outskirts of Calabar, where seven people, mostly foreigners, were kidnapped in June 2016.
“Exercise a high degree of caution in the city of Lagos, specifically within the area covering Ikeja down to Lagos Island, Victoria Island and Ikoyi, and from Mile Two (west end of Lagos) to Chevron Estate on the Lekki Peninsula (east end of Lagos).
“Avoid non-essential travel beyond these areas. The level of criminality in Lagos is high and incidents of violent crime, including assaults and armed attacks, have occurred against foreign nationals and in areas frequented by foreigners. Avoid all unnecessary travel after dark.
“Kidnappings of foreign and Nigerian nationals occur throughout Nigeria. They are a particular threat in North, North-East and Southern Nigeria. Since April 2019, several kidnappings have occurred. Those crimes, often perpetrated by small groups of armed individuals, are indiscriminate. Residents and foreigners alike have been abducted and held captive, sometimes for days, until ransom was paid. Deaths have also been reported.
“Incidents of armed carjacking occur along main roads throughout the country, however, they are of particular concern on the roads leading to international and domestic airport; on main highways between state capitals; in main cities, including Lagos and Abuja
“Many strategies are used to stop cars on the road, such as nails being scattered on the road or individuals, including pregnant women, pretending to be injured. Do not drive at night, especially outside of major cities, due to the increased likelihood of armed banditry and kidnapping. Criminals often target travellers along major transit routes such as the Abuja – Kaduna highway.
“There is a threat of terrorism in the north-western and north-eastern states. A state of emergency has been in effect since 2013 in the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe to account for the rising incidents of terrorism in the area.”