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U.S. Embassy Abuja does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The ACS Unit cannot recommend a particular individual or location and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED ABUJA AS BEING A CRITICAL-THREAT LOCATION FOR CRIME DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
Please review OSAC’s Nigeria-specific webpage for proprietary analytic reports, Consular Messages, and contact information.
U.S. Embassy Abuja has security responsibilities for the following states: Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nassarawa, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). All others fall to the responsibility of Consulate General Lagos.
Crime Threats
Criminal elements pose a serious risk throughout the country. Criminals are prone to use wanton violence, and resistance by a victim is often met with deadly force. Residents have experienced armed robberies, assaults, burglaries, carjackings, rapes, kidnappings, and extortion. Nigerians and expatriates were victims of armed robberies at banks, retail stores, and on airport roads at all hours. Home invasions remain a threat with armed robbers targeting guarded compounds by scaling perimeter walls, following residents/visitors, or subduing guards to gain entry. There have been notable increases in kidnappings for ransom targeting Westerners and carjackings in the Abuja Consular District.
Pirate attacks and kidnappings in the Gulf of Guinea have increased in recent years, and armed gangs board commercial/private vessels to rob/kidnap passengers and crews. There has been a trend of pirates stealing fishing boats/engines to conduct piracy operations. The Nigerian Navy has limited capacity to respond to criminal acts at sea. The government of Nigeria continues to pressure private maritime security companies out of the market.
The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens in Nigeria to consider their own personal security and to keep personal safety in the forefront of their planning.
Other Areas of Concern
U.S. Embassy personnel are subject to restrictions when traveling in Nigeria, with the exception of areas of Abuja and Lagos, and may be subject to other constraints as security conditions warrant. U.S. citizens should be aware that extremists have expanded their operations outside of northern Nigeria and are credited with several attacks against religious facilities, Nigerian government installations, and public markets. Modes of attack vary widely between individual PBIEDs to coordinated bombings and armed raids.
The State Department’s Travel Warning for Nigeria warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Nigeria and recommends avoiding all travel to Adamawa (north of the Benue River), Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, and Yobe states because the security situation in northeast Nigeria remains fluid and unpredictable. Due to the risk of kidnappings, robberies, and other armed attacks, U.S. citizens should avoid all but necessary travel to: Adamawa (south of the Benue River), Bayelsa, Delta, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, and Zamfara.
Travel to the Gulf of Guinea should also be avoided because of the threat of piracy.
Borno State continues to be of particular concern. Although the Nigerian military seems to have Boko Haram confined largely to the Sambisa Forest, suicide attacks occur on a semi-regular basis throughout the state but are primarily around population and commercial centers (Maiduguri). Commercial enterprises have re-established operations there, and NGOs have been streaming back into Maiduguri in response to the severe humanitarian crisis created by 2.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). Personnel from U.S. Embassy Abuja do not travel there without a dedicated security detail and remain in Maiduguri for a very limited time. The Embassy recommends that only essential travel to Maiduguri be considered. For those who do, the Embassy urges extreme caution, enhanced personal security, and the diligent exercise of personal security measures, particularly if traveling outside city limits.
Transportation-Safety Situation
Road Safety and Road Conditions
Driving is a major safety concern, particularly outside of Abuja and Lagos. Most roads are below U.S. standards, and motorists typically do not yield the right-of-way or give consideration to other vehicles or pedestrians. Excessive speed and reckless driving habits can be expected. Most vehicles lack basic maintenance and safety equipment.
Although traffic laws exist, enforcement is virtually non-existent. Authorities do not require safety inspections of vehicles. Accidents involving passenger buses, taxis, and personally-owned vehicles are frequent and often involve serious injury or death. Accidents may also draw large crowds that may become confrontational. Traffic accidents are common, and while no official statistics exist, it is common to find abandoned totaled/burnt vehicles.
Residents and visitors should schedule travel, particularly outside major cities, during daylight hours only. Driving at night is strongly discouraged.
Always slow down and follow directions of police/military at checkpoints. Police are authorized to shoot at suspected stolen vehicles and will do so if you do not stop. It is generally a good practice to hide any valuables when approaching checkpoints.

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