…warns citizens, says no state is safe from kidnapping
By Ayo Fadimu
The Presidency is silent on the warning the United Kingdom (UK) Foreign and Commonwealth Office gave to the citizens traveling to some Nigerian states as there was no response to enquiries made by our Correspondent on the development.
The UK government also declared that there is no state in the country that is free from the menace of kidnappers
A statement on the UK government website has advised that all citizens traveling to Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River States and 20km of the border with Niger in Zamfara State should be cancelled.
Around 117,000 British nationals visit Nigeria each year.
The FCO warned against all but essential travel to: Bauchi, Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina, Kogi and within 20km of the border with Niger in Sokoto and Kebbi States, non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Abia States.
It added that: “Terrorists are very likely to carry out attacks in Nigeria. 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 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 attacks recently. Terrorist groups carried out attacks in North East Nigeria during the February 2019 election period, and further attacks are likely. We continue to advise against all travel to Borno and Yobe States.
“On 23 February 2019, ISWA launched an attack involving indirect fire that resulted in explosions in multiple locations within Maiduguri.
“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.
“There’s a high threat of kidnap throughout Nigeria. Kidnaps can be motivated by criminality or terrorism and could be carried out for financial or political gain.
“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.
“If you travel to areas to which the FCO advise against travel, you are particularly at risk and will need a high level of security. If you’re working in northern Nigeria you should make sure your employers provide an adequate level of security where you live and where you work, make sure they regularly review security arrangements and familiarise yourself with those plans.
“There have been recent attacks in Maiduguri, Baga, Monguno, Damasak and Rann in Borno State and in Gujba and Geidam LGAs in Yobe State. Further attacks are likely. We advise against all travel to Borno and Yobe States.
“A number of kidnappings, including foreigners, took place in Kano city in April 2018. We advise against all but essential travel to Kano state. If you’re in or around Kano city, we recommend you take added precautions.
“You should be aware of your surroundings and avoid large crowds and public demonstrations as they can turn violent unexpectedly and at short notice. Follow news reports and be alert to developments. If you become aware of any nearby unrest or disturbances, you should leave the area immediately. Violent crime is common.