The United States Embassy has issued travel warning to its citizens in Nigeria ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays. The warning which was posted on the Embassy’s website and tagged “Security Warning For U.S Citizens” reminded “U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance during the holiday because of continued security concerns in Nigeria.”
The message reads inter alia: “we recommend U.S. citizens remain vigilant during this holiday season given the deadly attacks which were conducted the previous two years over the Christmas holiday. All U.S. citizens in Nigeria should be particularly vigilant around churches and other places of worship, locations where large crowds may gather, and areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers during the upcoming holiday season. U.S. citizens should pay attention to their surroundings, and keep their cellular telephones in close proximity for use in cases of emergency.
The Nigerian Security Services have heightened security measures in Nigeria as a result of threats posed by extremist groups and U.S. citizens can expect to see additional police and military checkpoints, additional security, and possible road blocks throughout the country during the holiday season.
This year, extremists attacked many locations in Nigeria, killing and injuring hundreds of people. They have threatened churches, mosques, media houses, police stations, immigration and customs offices, transportation centers, financial institutions, large hotels, shopping malls and markets, state government offices, communications centers, beer gardens, and nightclubs. Attackers have also attacked and destroyed public and private schools, educational institutions, cell towers, electrical stations, and churches in many northern and central states. Additionally, extremists continue to target westerners for abduction. The security situation in the country remains fluid and unpredictable”.
The US Embassy also urged citizens to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Programme so that they can have the latest travel updates and also enable the Embassy to contact them in an emergency.