Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
In a Foreign Travel Advice to its nationals in Nigeria, the United Kingdom (UK) has warned of the high possibility of terrorists’ attack in some parts of the North, during Saturday’s presidential election.
Consequently, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised British nationals in Nigeria against all travel to Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe states, including riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.
The United Kingdom (UK) also warned its nationals against travelling to areas within 20 kilometres of the border with Niger Republic, in Zamfara State.
In its foreign travel advice, the FCO also cautioned its nationals against all, but essential travel to Bauchi, Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina, Kogi and areas within 20 kilometres of the border with Niger in Sokoto and Kebbi states.
The warning, according to the UK, was as a result of violence and protests which may break out in some areas, including terrorists attacks and kidnappings.
“In the run-up to the elections, protests in Abuja and other Nigerian cities including Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Rivers are becoming increasingly frequent. Public gatherings and demonstrations may take place at short notice and have the potential to turn violent.
“You should avoid rallies, public gatherings and demonstrations, and monitor local media. The presidential elections could lead to the disruption of travel as a result of potential curfews or road blocks over the weekend of February 16 to17.
“Travel restrictions could also affect passengers arriving or departing from Lagos and Abuja international airports. If you’re planning to travel over this period, you should factor this into your travel plans and make appropriate allowances in your itinerary.
“The terrorist threat in Damasak and across Borno State is high, with a history of recent attacks. We continue to advise against all travel to Borno state.
“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Nigeria. Most attacks occur in the North East, particularly in Borno (including central Maiduguri and along access routes connecting the city to other major towns), Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe states.
“There have also been significant attacks in Kano, Kaduna, Jos and Bauchi states and in the federal capital, Abuja. You should avoid places where crowds gather, including 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 UK said.
The UK also noted that there is a high threat of kidnap throughout Nigeria, adding that kidnappings could be motivated by criminality or terrorism, and could be carried out for financial or political gain.
It further said the security environment in the northeast has deteriorated in 2018, even as it added that there was a heightened risk of kidnap in the country…”
“There is also a high threat of criminal kidnap in the Niger Delta region and Kogi state. “Kidnaps in the North East 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 the North East…”