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Nigeria not safe yet, US, UK, Canada warn citizens

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In spite of the weakening of Boko Haram’s capacity to carry out large-scale attacks against civilians and soldiers by Nigerian troops in the North-East, the United

States, United Kingdom and Canada still warn their citizens against travelling to Nigeria.

Twenty states are on the list of areas where these countries advised their citizens against going to.

Out of the 22 states, 13 states mainly in the North were identified as no-go areas.

According to the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, these states include Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Bauchi, Kano, Zamfara, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States.

About 117,000 British nationals visit Nigeria every year.

The FCO further advised against travelling to Jigawa, Katsina, Kogi, Sokoto, Kebbi, Plateau and Abia states, except for “essential travel.”

The US government specifically warned its citizens against travelling to Adamawa, Borno and Yobe in a travel alert to its citizens on Saturday.

It said, “The Department of State warns US citizens of the risks of travel to Nigeria and recommends that the US citizens avoid all travel to Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states because the security situation in North-East Nigeria remains fluid and unpredictable. The US Department of State strongly urges the US citizens in Nigeria to consider their personal security and to keep personal safety at the forefront of their travel planning.”

In its travel advice, the Canadian government still categorises Nigeria as being a point of “high threat of terrorism.”

“There is a high threat of terrorism in the northern states of Gombe, Yobe, Borno, Kano, Adamawa and Kaduna, where the extremist group Boko Haram, which often claims responsibility for terrorist attacks, is based. Boko Haram-attributed attacks, which regularly result in significant loss of life and injuries, increased in 2014. Explosions have taken place in busy public areas, including in or near markets in Jos, Maiduguri and Kano.

“A state of emergency is in effect in the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. Additional security personnel have been deployed to these states. Curfews are in effect in Maiduguri and other cities in the North-East, and are subject to change,” it said.

Apart from the threat of Boko Haram attacks, the countries also warned their nationals about the risk of being kidnapped.

“Kidnappings remain a security concern throughout the country (Nigeria). Several high-profile kidnappings occurred in 2014-2015 involving US citizens and other foreign nationals.

“In September 2014, two US citizens were kidnapped in Port Harcourt in two separate incidents. In February 2015, a US citizen was kidnapped in Kogi. In May 2015, two US citizens were kidnapped in Ondo and Anambra states in separate incidents,” the US Department of State said.

[Courtesy: PUNCH]

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