Cash Crunch: UK Issues Security Advisory To Citizens In Nigeria
The United Kingdom (UK) government has advised its nationals in Nigeria to avoid visiting banks and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the country.
The advisory was issued on Wednesday, by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), amid violent protests in some parts of the country over the scarcity of naira notes.
The advisory published on the FCDO website, said, “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed the redesign and issue of new N200, N500 and N1000 Naira notes. This has led to shortages of cash, which are likely to persist for a period. You are encouraged to check notes provided by currency exchange vendors will be valid for the duration of your travel to Nigeria, and to follow local CBN guidelines.
“Areas such as banks and ATMs have seen a spike in criminal activity, and as such, it is advised that you take extra precautions particularly when withdrawing cash in crowded spaces, and during night time hours. There have been outbreaks of violence in southwest Nigeria as a result of cash shortages, and there is a risk of other urban areas being impacted across the country. We advise travellers in Nigeria to exercise their judgement, including being aware of any large crowds or potential disturbances.”
The Foreign Office also warned of possible terrorist attacks in parts of the country, and advised citizens against visiting some states, including Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara.
It also asked citizens to avoid riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states
The FCDO also advised against all, but essential travel to Bauchi, Kano, Jigawa, Niger, Sokoto, Kogi, and within 20km of the border with Niger in Kebbi State, Abia State, non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers States, as well as Plateau State and Taraba State
Before you travel, check the ‘Entry requirements’ section for Nigeria’s current entry restrictions and requirements. These may change with little warning. Monitor this advice for the latest updates and stay in contact with your travel provider. On 15 February, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control announced the online Nigeria Health Declaration Form for incoming travellers. This is a requirement for all travellers to complete before travel to Nigeria.
“If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.
“Around 117,000 British tourists visit Nigeria every year. Most visits are trouble-free, but a small number of British people encounter problems. You should take sensible precautions to protect your safety.
“Nationwide elections will take place in Nigeria on 25 February and 11 March 2023. Movement restrictions may be enforced during this period, especially on election days, and there is a heightened risk of protests and violence.
“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Nigeria. Most attacks occur in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States in the North East. There have also been significant attacks in other states, including in Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Bauchi, Taraba, Kogi, Niger, and the Federal Capital Territory.
“Further attacks are likely and could occur at any time. Attacks could be indiscriminate and could affect western interests, as well as places visited by tourists. Attacks are more likely to attack crowded locations or symbolic targets, such as places of worship. There is a heightened risk during religious events, public holidays or election periods.
“There is a high threat of criminal and terrorist kidnap throughout Nigeria.
“Incidents of banditry and inter-communal violence occur frequently throughout Nigeria. Attacks can occur without warning.
“Political rallies, protests and violent demonstrations can occur with little notice throughout the country. International news events can sometimes trigger anti-Western demonstrations. There is the potential for increased tension on Fridays. See more information under ‘Protests and Demonstrations
“Throughout Nigeria there are high levels of violent street crime including muggings, car-jackings and armed robbery in Nigeria. You should be vigilant at all times.”
The advisory also said that UK health authorities have classified Nigeria as having a risk of Zika virus, Cholera, Lassa fever, Yellow fever, Monkey pox, Poliomyelitis and Ebola virus transmission.
“It is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover.
“Before considering travel to areas to which the FCDO advise against all or all but essential travel you should take professional security advice. Be vigilant at all times and keep others informed of your travel plans.
“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 FCDO has existing advice against all travel and all but essential travel (as set out above).
“If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.”
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