There is a high threat of terrorist attack, kidnapping, violent civil unrest and crime across much of Nigeria. Exercise extreme caution. Consider obtaining professional security advice. The security situation could deteriorate without warning and you could be caught up in violence directed at others.
In recent years Nigeria-based militant groups, including Boko Haram (also known as Islamic State West Africa Province), have carried out large scale and often simultaneous attacks against a range of targets in Nigeria. Attacks, which can include the use of explosive devices (including suicide bombers) and gun fire, have been most frequent in the north eastern states to which we advise against all travel.
However, terrorist attacks can occur anywhere in Nigeria. Locations frequented by foreigners have been attacked in the past and may be targeted in the future. Attacks may be indiscriminate and target public places where large crowds tend to gather.
Terrorists may launch attacks to coincide with religious festivals, national holidays, significant dates and anniversaries, especially during the Ramadan, Christmas and Easter periods. In early June 2017, Boko Haram militants staged multiple attacks in Maiduguri Borno State killing at least 11 people.
On 9 May 2017 the UK Government warned that Boko Haram is actively planning to kidnap western foreign workers in Bama Local Government Area of Borno state. Exercise vigilance in crowded public places including bars, hotels, restaurants, shopping mall, markets, places of worship, transport hubs and camps for displaced persons. The high threat of kidnapping remains in Northern and Middle Belt states, such as Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Niger and Adamawa states.
Aid workers in the region should exercise heightened vigilance and review personal security plans.
Exercise heightened vigilance near Nigerian government and security institutions, internally displaced persons’ camps, international organisations, police stations, diplomatic premises, financial institutions, oil facilities and infrastructure as well as public areas including markets, hotels, licensed premises, restaurants, venues broadcasting international sporting events, shopping centres, places of worship, cinemas, educational institutions (including schools, colleges and universities), airports and transport infrastructure, outdoor recreation events and tourist areas.
Security has been tightened at many buildings across Nigeria. A heavy security presence often indicates a location of particularly high risk, but less security does not necessarily mean a lower risk.
Avoid the affected area in the aftermath of an attack. Secondary attacks have occurred targeting those attending to the victims of a primary attack.
Curfews can be imposed, amended and lifted at short notice. Obey all curfews and monitor the local media for the latest information on possible restrictions on movement and the overall security environment.
Anambra, Cross-Rivers (non-riverine areas), Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states: Reconsider your need to travel to Anambra, Cross-Rivers (non-riverine areas), Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states due to an increase in attacks by militants, including kidnappings.
Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna and Yobe states: We strongly advise you not to travel to the states of Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Yobe and Adamawa where Boko Haram remains active. Attacks by Boko Haram aimed at spreading terror and taking territorial control of large parts of north eastern Nigeria have resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, over a thousand kidnappings and the displacement of over two and a half million people in recent years. Affected areas have been pillaged, buildings burnt and crops destroyed. Two foreign nationals were kidnapped in Kaduna state in late February 2017. Military operations continue in parts of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, where areas remain under Boko Haram control.
Recent attacks on public areas have largely been in retaliation to military advances.
Riverine areas of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta and Rivers states: Do you not travel to the riverine areas (i.e. the river and swamp areas on or close to the coast accessible by boat, but not by road) of Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states in south-eastern Nigeria because of the very high risk of kidnapping, robbery and other armed attacks by militant and criminal groups, often directed towards foreign oil facilities and personnel. A number of attacks on oil facilities have been carried out across the region by the Niger Delta Avengers group. If you are in these areas, you should consider leaving.
The ability of the Australian Government to provide consular services to Australians in these areas may be severely limited.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our
Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin.
Be aware that there is a high threat of kidnapping across the country. While kidnappings largely target local people, a number of kidnappings involving Westerners, including Australians, have occurred across Nigeria, especially in those areas where we advise Australians not to travel. Most recently two foreign nationals were kidnapped in Kaduna state in late February 2017. Westerners have also been kidnapped in other parts of Nigeria, including Abuja and Lagos.
Kidnappings in the south are typically financially motivated, with the victims being held by criminal groups for ransom. Kidnappings in the north are generally politically motivated and undertaken by terrorist groups. In the past victims of kidnapping have been executed.
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it does not make payments or concessions to kidnappers. The Australian Government considers that paying a ransom increases the risk of further kidnappings, including of other Australians. If you do decide to travel to an area where there is a particular threat of kidnapping, you should seek professional security advice and have effective personal security measures in place. See our
Kidnapping threat bulletin.
Ongoing risk of political and inter-communal violence across Nigeria: There is an ongoing risk of serious inter-communal violence and unrest in many parts of the country, particularly in the central and northern regions of Nigeria. Thousands of civilians have been killed in serious violence and unrest related to long-standing tribal, religious, political and community based grievances in these areas.
Avoid all protests, rallies and demonstrations as they may turn violent at short notice.
Since November 2015, a number of protests have taken place in the south-east of Nigeria, led by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra group. One protest in Onitsha (Anambra State) turned violent on 2 December resulting in nine deaths. The group is protesting the arrest of its leader and calling for Biafran independence.
Be alert to changes in the security environment and monitor the local media and other sources of information for developments that may heighten existing inter-communal tensions. While foreigners are generally not targeted, you could be caught up in violence directed at others.
There is a high level of serious and petty crime throughout Nigeria. Kidnapping, violent assault, armed robbery, banditry, home invasion (including in walled and guarded compounds), and carjacking, committed both by individuals and gangs, are prevalent across Nigeria. Petty crime often occurs in crowded public places. Expatriates are frequently targeted due to their perceived level of wealth. Pay strict attention to your personal safety and security at all times. Do not leave valuables or bags unattended.
Crime increases at night in most areas, particularly in major cities and on highways. Police can be slow to respond to reports of criminal activity, and sometimes do not respond at all. Little or no investigative support is provided to victims.
There is a high incidence of crime on and around the main roads to and from international and domestic airports in Lagos, Abuja and other urban centres. Prearranged collection/drop off at airports and hotels by someone who is known to you or whose identity you can verify will help to minimise the risk. Criminals have been known to pose as police, military personnel and bogus greeters or company representatives at airports and hotels. Ensure that you can verify and identify who you are meeting and where.
Assaults and robberies are common on public transport and when travelling unaccompanied in taxis.
Avoid meeting in places on the outskirts of urban centres. Question any last minute changes in arrangements.
Due to the relatively high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, victims of violent crime, especially rape, are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical assistance.
Edo, Ekiti, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states: The security situation in these states is relatively stable and facilities are well developed compared to other parts of the country. However, there remain high levels of criminality, including petty crime, assaults and armed attack. Avoid unnecessary travel after dark.
Commercial and internet fraud: Commercial and internet fraud is prevalent and often originates in Nigeria. Scams come in many forms, including romance, friendship, business ventures and employment opportunities. Victims have suffered financial loss. Some who travel to Nigeria have had their lives endangered.
If you are the victim of a scam, obtain legal advice. Do not to travel to Nigeria to seek restitution. Closely scrutinise all approaches originating in Nigeria from people unknown to you. Do not send money to anyone in Nigeria until proper checks are made.
If you are travelling to Nigeria, your relatives and friends may receive bogus phone calls and emails from Nigeria claiming that an Australian traveller is in distress legally, financially or subject to a medical emergency and money is required to assist them. Any requests for money should be treated with caution. If friends and family are unsuccessful in attempts to contact you directly and remain concerned, they should then contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Consular Emergency Centre (see
Where to Get Help for contact details). Be careful about disclosing personal information and disposing of personal documents while in Nigeria.
Some scams may involve requests to transfer money or details though the Australian High Commission in Abuja or involve communication from persons claiming to work at the High Commission itself. Verify any requests of this nature with the High Commission before responding. See
Where to Get Help.
international scams page for further information.
Nigeria is predominantly a cash economy. The local currency is the Naira. The Naira is rarely found outside Nigeria. The acceptance of non-Nigerian debit and credit cards is extremely limited. Use of local cards is increasing in larger cities, however they are rarely accepted elsewhere and there is a high risk of fraud associated with their use. Travellers should exercise caution when visiting banks or using ATMs. Carefully consider when and where to access internet banking. Facilities for changing travellers' cheques and Australian dollars are very limited. US dollars are widely accepted at major hotels, banks and foreign exchange bureaus.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. Keep a photocopy of the ID page and any other important documents, including visas, in a separate location. You are required by Australian law to
report a lost or stolen passport online or contact the nearest
Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.