The United States has warned of an expected increase in crime in and around Abuja, and caution her citizens to “maintain a high state of personal security awareness for the next two weeks and avoid unnecessary travel on the airport road.”
The warning came after suspected terrorists attacked Kuje prison and freed inmates on Tuesday.
The advisory was contained in a July 6 security notice on the website of United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria
Among other precautions, the United States cautioned its nationals to be aware of their surroundings, keep a low profile, carry proper identification, monitor local media for updates and review personal security plans.
Titled, ‘Abuja FCT Prison Break Near the Airport on July 5, 2022’, the US Embassy noted that crime has become endemic throughout Nigeria.
The advisory reads: “On the night of July 5, 2022, an attack on Kuje Prison freed a large portion of the estimated 1,000 prisoners. The prison lies approximately 27 miles southwest of the Central Business District.
“An increase in crime is expected in and around Abuja. It is recommended that U.S. citizens should maintain a high state of personal security awareness for the next two weeks and avoid unnecessary travel on the airport road.
“Crime is endemic throughout Nigeria and tends to spike after dark. Avoiding locations and situations that increase the likelihood of being victimized is the best defence. Avoid displays of valuables and limit nighttime activity.
“Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack –including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to target crowds more effectively. Frequently, their aim is focused on unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:
“High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.), hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists, places of worship, schools, parks, shopping malls and markets and public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights).
“Actions to take: Be aware of your surroundings, Keep a low profile, carry proper identification, monitor local media for updates, review your personal security plans, always drive with your windows rolled up and the doors locked, and avoid large gatherings and protests, review alternative travel routes in case of unexpected protests or unrest, exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests, always keep the doors to your residence locked, even when at home.”
Similarly, the United Kingdom warned her nationals resident in Nigeria to be cautious of their safety and security.
In a Foreign Travel Advice, issued on July 5, 2022, the UK noted the attack on the Kuje Custodial Centre as well the June 5, 2022 attack at a church the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, causing at least 40 deaths.
“The High Commission are in contact with the local authorities. If you are in the area, you should monitor local media, exercise caution and follow the advice of local authorities”, it said.
The United Kingdom further said since August 9, 2021, there has been an increase in protests and demonstrations in the South East region of Nigeria.
“Protests, including “Stay at Home” protests, remain likely in the South East region. There have been reports of violence during Stay at Home protests previously. You should monitor local media, avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings and follow any instructions from local police and security forces.
“There have been a number of attacks and targeted killings in the South East and South South regions of Nigeria, including in the states of Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Imo, Abia, Anambra, Delta, Edo and Ebonyi. Some of these attacks have been on isolated roads and in remote locations, but there is a chance that they could occur in metropolitan areas.
“There is also a heightened risk of indiscriminate attacks on police and security infrastructure, which may inadvertently affect bystanders.
“A number of states have imposed curfews. Travellers to these regions are advised to exercise caution if travelling in remote areas at night and follow local news and information outlets for further information, including on local curfews”, the UK said.
It warned her citizens to be cautions of making trips to 19 States in the country, including, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River. They were advised to only embark on essential travel to Bauchi, Kano, Jigawa , Niger, Sokoto, Kogi, within 20km of the border with Niger in Kebbi State, Abia and nonriverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Plateau, and Taraba.
They were advised to only embark on essential travel to Bauchi, Kano, Jigawa , Niger, Sokoto, Kogi, within 20km of the border with Niger in Kebbi State, Abia and non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Plateau, and Taraba.