Reconsider your need to travel to Nigeria due to high threats of terrorist attack and kidnapping, the volatile security situation, possible violent civil unrest and high levels of violent crime.
Exercise a high degree of caution in the states of Lagos, Edo, Ekiti, Kwara, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo, where significant security threats exist but aren't as acute as in other parts of Nigeria.
- Do not to travel to Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna and Yobe states because of the very high threat of terrorist attack, the threat of kidnapping and the volatile security situation. If you are in these states, leave immediately.
Do not to travel to the riverine areas (river or swamp areas on or close to the coast) of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta and Rivers states in south-eastern Nigeria because of the very high risk of kidnapping, robbery and armed attacks, especially against foreign oil facilities and personnel.
- If, despite our advice, you decide to travel to these regions, make sure you have appropriate close personal protection from a professional security service. The ability of the Australian Government to provide consular services to Australians in these areas is severely limited.
- Protests in Abuja and other Nigerian cities are becoming increasingly frequent. The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has been protesting every day since January 2018. Avoid protests, demonstrations and large crowds as they could turn violent without notice. Monitor local media for news of unrest. See Safety and security
- Presidential elections will be held in February 2019.
- A terror attack could happen at any time and anywhere in Nigeria. Targets could include hotels frequented by foreigners in major cities or other crowded public places, including bars, restaurants, shopping mall, markets, places of worship, transport hubs and camps for displaced persons. See Safety and security
- Terrorists may launch attacks to coincide with religious festivals, national holidays, significant dates and anniversaries, especially during the Ramadan, Christmas and Easter periods. See Safety and security
- Kidnapping is a threat throughout Nigeria, particularly in Northern and Middle Belt states such as Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Niger and Adamawa. Aid workers could be targeted. Review your personal security plans. See Safety and security
- Bombings have occurred across Nigeria, including in Abuja. Militant groups have threatened to carry out further attacks against government facilities and personnel, hotels, educational facilities (including international schools), places of worship, media offices, markets and mass transit facilities. See Safety and security
- If, despite our advice, you decide to travel to Nigeria, exercise extreme caution. The security situation could deteriorate without warning. You could be caught in violence directed at others.
Entry and exit
You'll need a visa or Residence Permit (CERPAC or Green Card) to visit Nigeria. Visa on arrival services are available to certain categories of travellers, subject to strict conditions including obtaining a letter of approval in advance of travel.
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Nigeria or visit the Nigeria Immigration Service website for the latest information.
If you have HIV or AIDS, you may be denied entry to Nigeria. HIV/AIDS-related entry restrictions apply to visitors and foreign residents of Nigeria. Nigerian authorities may require HIV tests for foreigners intending to marry Nigerian citizens.
Contact an Embassy or Consulate of Nigeria before you travel for current advice on yellow fever vaccination requirements for entry to Nigeria. Some airlines may require you to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate before you'll be allowed to board your flight out of Nigeria. Read the Department of Health website for information about Australian re-entry requirements following travel to regions with yellow fever risk.
More information: Yellow fever risk and certification requirements (by country, WHO)
All Australian resident expatriates are required to register with Nigeria's immigration authorities.
More information: Nigeria Immigration Service
In March 2017, the US government announced new restrictions on carrying electronic devices for passengers travelling from or through Nigeria to the US. More information: US Department of Homeland Security
Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia.
Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.
Be aware of attempts to obtain access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.
If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible. You can either:
The local currency is the Nigeria Naira (NGN). Declare all amounts over NGN5,000 on arrival. Facilities for changing travellers' cheques and Australian dollars are very limited. US dollars are widely accepted at major hotels, banks and foreign exchange bureaux.
Nigeria is predominantly a cash economy. The acceptance of non-Nigerian debit and credit cards is extremely limited. Use of local cards is increasing in larger cities but they are rarely accepted elsewhere. There is a high risk of fraud when using debit and credit cards. Contact your bank to make sure your cards will work in Nigeria.
Safety and security
There is a high threat of terrorist attack, kidnapping, violent civil unrest and crime across much of Nigeria. Exercise extreme caution. Consider getting professional security advice. The security situation could deteriorate without warning and you could be caught up in violence directed at others.
Gunmen attacked and killed seven police officers on 3 July in the Galadimawa area, near the Namdi Azikiwe International Airport in central Abuja. Police have increased patrols and checkpoints in Abuja and at entry points into the city. Be alert when approaching police check points. Exercise caution when driving, especially at night. See Local travel.
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 can include the use of explosive devices (including suicide bombers) and gun fire.
On 27 February 2018, the UK Government reissued its travel advice for Nigeria advising of reports that Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) are continuing to actively plan to kidnap foreigners, including in Bama Local Government Area of Borno state, along the Kumshe-Banki axis.
Due to the security environment, Australian officials adopt enhanced security measures when travelling outside Abuja and Lagos.
Terrorist attacks could occur anywhere and at any time in Nigeria. Attacks could target locations frequented by foreigners, other public places where large crowds gather or they could be indiscriminate. In recent years, attacks have been most frequent in the north-eastern states.
Possible targets for future attacks include Nigerian government and security institutions, internally displaced persons' camps, international organisations, police stations, diplomatic premises, financial institutions, oil facilities and infrastructure. 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 could also be targeted.
Terror attacks may coincide with religious festivals, national holidays, significant dates and anniversaries, especially during the Ramadan, Christmas and Easter periods. Secondary terror attacks sometimes target those attending the victims of a primary attack.
In early June 2017, Boko Haram militants staged multiple attacks in Maiduguri Borno State, killing at least 11 people. Boko Haram is also active in the states of Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Yobe and Adamawa. 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. 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.
Militant group Niger Delta Avengers have carried out multiple attacks on oil facilities and personnel across the riverine region.
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.
Curfews can be imposed, amended and lifted at short notice.
- Do not travel to the States of Maiduguri Borno, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Yobe and Adamawa because of the very high threat of terror attack and, in some cases, territorial control by terrorist group Boko Haram.
- Do not travel to the riverine areas of Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states because of the very high risk of armed attacks by militant (and criminal) groups.
- If you're in a 'do not travel' area, consider leaving if safe to do so.
- Be alert to possible threats throughout Nigeria, especially in public places.
- Avoid hotels popular with foreigners, crowds and other possible targets for terror attacks.
- If you must go to a crowded place or other possible terror target, have a clear exit plan for if there is a security incident.
- Report any suspicious activity or items to police.
- Monitor the media for any new or emerging threats and for advice of curfews and other restrictions.
- Take official warnings seriously and follow the instructions of local authorities.
- If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so.
- Avoid the affected area in the aftermath of an attack because of the risk of secondary attacks.
More information: Terrorist Threat Worldwide
There is a high threat of kidnapping across Nigeria. There is a very high threat of kidnapping in the riverine areas (that is, 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.
Kidnappings usually target local people but a number of Westerners, including Australians, have been kidnapped across Nigeria. Most kidnappings of Westerners occur in regions to which we advise Australians 'do not travel'. Westerners have also been kidnapped in other parts of Nigeria, including Abuja and Lagos. Aid workers may be targeted.
Kidnappings in the south are typically financially motivated, with victims being held by criminal groups for ransom. Kidnappings in the north are generally politically motivated and undertaken by terrorist groups. Kidnap victims are sometimes executed.
The ability of the Australian Government to provide consular services in high threat areas may be severely limited.
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it does not make payments or concessions to kidnappers.
- Read Kidnapping before you travel to Nigeria.
- Do not travel to the riverine areas of Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.
- Do not travel to the states of Maiduguri Borno, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Yobe and Adamawa.
If, despite our advice, you decide to travel any area where there is a threat of kidnapping:
- seek professional security advice
- have effective personal security measures in place.
More information: Kidnapping
Civil unrest and political tension
There is a risk of serious inter-communal violence and unrest in many parts of the country, particularly in the central and northern regions. 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. Protests by pro-Biafran groups occur in the south-east of Nigeria and can also turn violent.
Protests in Abuja and other Nigerian cities are becoming increasingly frequent in the lead-up to presidential elections in February 2019. Foreigners generally aren't targeted in politically motivated violence but foreigners can get caught up in violence directed at others.
- Avoid all protests, rallies, demonstrations and other large public gatherings - they could turn violent with little notice.
- Monitor local media and other sources for developments that may heighten existing inter-communal tensions and for news of planned and possible unrest. Avoid affected areas.
There is a high level of serious and petty crime throughout Nigeria. Criminals work in gangs and individually. Crime increases at night in most areas, particularly in major cities and on highways.
Kidnapping, violent assault, armed robbery, banditry, home invasion (including in walled and guarded compounds) and carjacking are prevalent across Nigeria. Assaults and robberies are common on public transport and when travelling unaccompanied in taxis.
Petty crime often occurs in crowded public places. Foreigners are frequently targeted.
There's 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. Criminals pose as police, military personnel and greeters or company representatives at airports and hotels.
The security situation in Edo, Ekiti, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states is more stable than in other parts of Nigeria but crime rates are still high, particularly for petty crime, assault and armed attack.
- Avoid travel after dark.
- Pay strict attention to your personal safety and security at all times.
- Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables, including your passport, in a secure location.
- Don't tempt thieves – avoid wearing expensive watches, jewellery and cameras.
- Avoid carrying bags that are easy to snatch.
- Pay close attention to your personal possessions at all times.
- Keep your car windows and doors closed and locked at all times, including when moving.
- Avoid visiting banks or using ATMs alone. Only use ATMs in banks, hotels and other buildings with security.
- Take steps to protect yourself from imposters- make sure you can verify and identify who you are meeting and where; arrange to be collected from airports and hotels by someone you know or someone whose identity you can verify.
- 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, if you're a victim of violent crime, especially rape, seek immediate medical assistance.
Police can be slow to respond to reports of criminal activity, and sometimes do not respond at all. See Where to get help.
Commercial and internet fraud often originates in Nigeria. Scams come in many forms, including romance, friendship, business and employment opportunities. Victims have suffered financial loss. Some who travel to Nigeria have their lives endangered.
- Scrutinise all approaches originating in Nigeria from people you don't know.
- Don't send money to anyone in Nigeria until proper checks are made.
- If you are the victim of a scam, get legal advice.
- Don't to travel to Nigeria to seek restitution.
If you're 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 medically and money is required to assist them.
- Be careful about disclosing personal information and disposing of personal documents while in Nigeria.
- Be wary of any requests for money.
- Tell friends and family to contact you directly if they receive any emails about you from others.
- If friends and family are unable to contact you directly and remain concerned, they should contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Consular Emergency Centre (see Where to Get Help for contact details).
Some scams involve requests to transfer money or details through 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.
Scammers can access your personal data when you use open networks and in some other circumstances.
- Carefully consider when and where to access internet banking and any other sites on which personal data or passwords may be transmitted or stored.
More information: International scams
Nigeria's borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger can close at short notice. Seek local advice.
Driving in Nigeria is dangerous due to poorly maintained roads and vehicles, poor local driving habits, unpredictable pedestrians, poor signage, lack of working traffic lights and inadequate road lighting. You are four times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Nigeria than in Australia.
Armed robbery occurs on highways, with victims stopped by methods including nails and branches on the road, as well as fake breakdowns and injured persons.
You could also encounter authorised and unauthorised police and military roadblocks, vehicle checkpoints, traffic diversions and parking restrictions, particularly in major cities and after dark. Expect delays. If you can't produce your identity documents, car registration and ownership papers on demand, you may be issued an on-the-spot fine or asked to pay a bribe.
If you're in a traffic accident, nearby crowds may gather quickly and react strongly, particularly if they think you are at fault.
Roadside assistance is poor to non-existent. Fuel shortages are common, particularly in the northern regions. Long lines at service stations often disrupt and block traffic in urban centres.
- Check you have adequate insurance cover and familiarise yourself with local traffic laws and practices before driving.
- Make sure you have adequate fuel for your journey
- Avoid driving at night, where possible.
- Drive defensively and legally.
- Wear a seatbelt.
- Don't drink and drive.
- Keep your car windows and doors closed and locked at all times, including when moving.
- Keep any valuables in your car out of sight.
- Be alert to possible security threats, particularly in traffic jams and at traffic lights.
- If stopped by police, follow their instructions.
In addition, when travelling outside major cities:
- seek local advice on road and security conditions along your proposed route before you travel
- leave details of your travel itinerary with a reliable person
- travel in convoy where possible
- carry bottled water, a full first aid kit and multiple forms of communication.
More information: Road travel
International Driving Permits are not recognised in Nigeria. You will need a local licence to operate a motor vehicle in Nigeria.
Motorbikes are banned in some urban centres. Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when riding a motorcycle. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet.
Regular and motorcycle taxis are common, but they can pose a serious danger to passengers, other road users and pedestrians. Use car hire services which include a local driver. These services are available at most major hotels.
Public transport is often unsafe due to unqualified and uninsured drivers, poor vehicle maintenance, high speed driving and overcrowding. Trains are often overcrowded and are targeted by criminals.
- Avoid using public transport. Travel in a locked motor vehicle is a safer option
Piracy, hijacking, kidnapping from, and armed robbery of, ships at anchor has increased significantly in the coastal areas of the Gulf of Guinea, including near Lagos and the Niger Delta. Criminals with speed boats and high calibre weapons are common in these areas.
The Nigerian Navy has limited capacity to respond to criminal acts at sea. The International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports on its website.
More information: Piracy
Domestic and international flights are often overbooked, delayed or cancelled at short notice. During Harmattan, a seasonal wind which blows a high amount of sand and dust in the air, dust storms are common and flights can be rerouted due to poor visibility.
There are concerns over the safety and reliability of some airlines operating domestic flights. Airlines may not fully observe maintenance procedures and safety standards. Passengers may not be covered by airline insurance.
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Nigeria.
More information: Air travel
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and may include lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines. More information: Drugs
The death penalty may be imposed for serious crimes such as murder and armed robbery. In states where Sharia Law operates, adults convicted of engaging in homosexual activity can be subject to the death penalty.
Sharia Law has been introduced in 12 states in northern Nigeria (Bauchi, Bomo, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara) and is increasingly being enforced. Offences such as stealing and adultery may attract strict penalties in these states.
Homosexuality is both illegal and socially unacceptable throughout Nigeria. It is illegal to:
- enter into a same-sex marriage or civil union
- be a witness to or aid in the planning of a same-sex marriage
- register, operate or participate in gay clubs, societies or organisations
- make any public show of a same-sex relationship
More information: LGBTI travellers
While perhaps legal in some countries, the following activities are also illegal in Nigeria:
- taking photos or video around government buildings, military installations, diplomatic premises, airports or bridges - note restricted areas may not be well defined
- smoking in public places
- exporting African art, particularly antiques, without written authorisation from the Department of Antiquities
- importing beer, mineral water, soft drinks, sparkling wine, fruits, vegetables, cereals, eggs, textiles, jewellery or precious metals.
Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:
- bribery of foreign public officials
- child pornography
- child sex tourism
- female genital mutilation
- forced marriage
- money laundering
Australian-Nigerian dual nationals between the ages of 18 and 30 may be required to undertake the National Youth Service Corps program. Nigerian authorities may insist dual nationals enter and exit Nigeria on a Nigerian passport. Contact an Embassy or Consulate of Nigeria for further information before you travel.
More information: Dual nationals
Nigeria is ethnically and religiously diverse. It has over 400 ethnic groups, the largest Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa and a large Christian community. Behave and dress conservatively, especially outside of large urban areas.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to occur between early May and early June 2019. During Ramadan, take care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. In particular, avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting. More information: Ramadan
Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. Make sure your policy includes adequate coverage for any pre-existing conditions.
Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.
- what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
- that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.
More information: Travel insurance
Physical and mental health
Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
- At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
- Get vaccinated before you travel.
Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and find out if any quantity restrictions or certification requirements apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel
Take legal prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Carry copies of your prescription and a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.
More information: Prescription medicines
The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Nigeria is high. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
Nigeria is listed by the WHO as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It is preventable by vaccination..
Malaria, dengue fever and other insect-borne diseases are common.
Protect yourself against insect-borne illnesses:
- ensure your accommodation is insect proof
- take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
- get vaccinated against yellow fever before you travel
- consider taking malaria prevention medication
- seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.
Other infectious diseases
There are continuing reports of Lassa fever in several states in Nigeria. Monitor local media and the WHO health pages for updates.
Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, schistosomiasis, tuberculosis, rabies, measles and meningitis) are prevalent. More serious outbreaks occur from time to time.
- Use good hygiene practices including frequent handwashing.
- Boil drinking water or drink bottled water.
- Avoid ice cubes.
- Avoid eating wild animals.
- Avoid raw and undercooked food.
- Don't swim in fresh water.
- Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering diarrhoea.
Nigeria is listed by the WHO as endemic for polio.
Stay up-to-date with routinely recommended vaccinations against polio, including a booster dose, as per the Australian Immunisation Handbook. More information: Polio (Department of Health)
Medical facilities in outside major cities are very limited and even more basic in rural areas. You'll usually need to pay upfront, before you receive treatment.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to a destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
The rainy season is from May to October. Localised flooding may occur and some roads may become impassable.
The dry season is from November to April. Temperatures may exceed 40 degrees Celsius for consecutive days, especially in the north of the country. During this period, central and northern Nigeria may be affected by Harmattan, a seasonal wind which blows a high amount of sand and dust in the air. Visibility may be severely limited.
There are strong ocean currents along the coast of Nigeria. Conditions can change quickly and several drownings occur each year.
If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.
Where to get help
Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour provider, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
- Fire: phone 119 or 112
- Medical emergencies: phone 119 or 112 or go direct to the hospital
- Criminal issues: phone 119 or 112 or contact the nearest police station
Always get a police report when reporting a crime.
The national emergency numbers (119 and 112) can be unreliable. They may not be accessible from some parts of Nigeria.
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.
Tourism services and products
For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.
Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and cannot do to help you overseas. For full consular assistance, contact the Australian High Commission in Abuja:
Australian High Commission, Abuja
5th Floor, Oakland Centre
48 Aguiyi Ironsi Street
Telephone: +234 (0) 9 461 2780
Office mobile: +234 (0) 803 307 3519
Australia in Nigeria
Australian Consulate, Lagos
8th Floor Union Marble House
1 Alfred Rewane Road (formerly Kingsway), Falomo
Ikoyi Lagos, Nigeria
Telelphone: +234 (0) 803 300 7291
The Australian Consulate in Lagos is headed by an Honorary Consul and provides limited services. For consular and passport services, contact the Australian High Commission in Abuja.
The High Commission and Consulate do not process visa requests. For all visa enquiries, visit the Visa and Migration website.
If you are unable to contact the High Commission in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.