Polls: Britain tells nationals states, places to avoid

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The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:

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  • Borno State
  • Yobe State
  • Adamawa State
  • Gombe State
  • Riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States
  • within 20km of the border with Niger in Zamfara State

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

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  • Bauchi State
  • Zamfara State
  • Kano State
  • Kaduna State
  • Jigawa State
  • Katsina State
  • Kogi State
  • within 20km of the border with Niger in Sokoto and Kebbi States
  • non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers State
  • Abia State

Presidential elections will take place in Nigeria on 16 February. 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.

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The Presidential elections could lead to the disruption of travel as a result of potential curfews or road blocks over the weekend of 16 and 17 February. 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.

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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.

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. See Terrorism and Criminal Kidnaps

The security environment in the north east has deteriorated in 2018 and there is a heightened risk of kidnap. 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 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 Baga, Monguno, Damasak and Rann in Borno State. Further attacks are likely. We advise against all travel to Borno State.

A number of kidnappings, including of 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.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control confirmed an outbreak of Lassa fever on 22 January. For further information and advice see the NaTHNaC website.

UK health authorities have classified Nigeria as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Around 117,000 British nationals visit Nigeria each year. Most visits are trouble-free.

Before considering travel to areas to which the FCO advise against all or all but essential travel you should take professional security advice. Be vigilant at all times, keep others informed of your travel plans and vary your routines. If you’re working in Nigeria you should follow your employer’s security advice, make sure your accommodation is secure and review your security measures regularly. Consular support is offered in Nigeria although limited in areas where the FCO advise against all or all but essential travel.

Flash flooding can occur during the wet season (June to October). There is a greater risk from water-borne diseases during the rainy season.

On 1 August 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo government confirmed an outbreak of Ebola in North Kivu province, originating in Beni territory. The latest updates can be found on the World Heath Organisation (WHO)website.

The outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo in August 2018 could result in some additional checks taking place at international airports in Nigeria. There are no direct flights from the Democratic Republic of Congo so these checks could be in place for any flight. This is a standard precaution and no a cause for alarm.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. Make sure your policy covers you for the type of travel you’re proposing to undertake.

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