By Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja
United Kingdom has issued travel warning to its nationals in Nigeria, The Nation learnt.
Besides, UK has temporarily withdrawn a small number of its staff and dependents at its Mission in both Abuja and Lagos.
The UK Foreign Office attributed the insecurity situation in the country for the action.
The travel advisory which was issued on Tuesday and publicised on the official website of the UK Foreign Office, stated that “the Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.”
Also, the statement urged Britons against travelling to the following places:
Borno State, Yobe State, Adamawa State Gombe State.
UK also warned against visiting of riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States and also within 20km of the border with Niger in Zamfara State.
It also warned that traveling to North West of Nigeria should only be for essential reasons.
Read Also: Insecurity: Enough of talk
“Furthermore, it advised against travelling to the following places except for essential reasons: The FCO advise against all but essential travel to: Bauchi State, Zamfara State, Kano State,
Kaduna State within 20km of the state border with Kaduna and Zamfara states in Niger State, west of the Kaduna River
Jigawa State, Katsina State and Kogi State within 20km of the border with Niger in Sokoto and Kebbi States non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers State and Abia State.
The UK Foreign Office further stated that the current insecurity in Nigeria has necessitated the temporal withdrawal of a small number of UK staff and dependents at the British High Commission in Abuja and the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos.
“Both locations will continue to carry out essential work including providing 24/7 consular assistance and support to British people in Nigeria,” the statement reads.
It was gathered that a spokesman to the Presidency, Garba Shehu announced that President Muhammadu Buhari ordered airstrikes in Niger state against criminal groups operating out of the Dogon Gona forest area bordering Zamfara and Kaduna states.
It was further gathered that such missions are yet to be approved in Niger State, however, helicopter gunships have reportedly been operating in Kaduna State targeting cross border banditry, the UK Foreign Office confirmed.
“The al Qaeda-linked terrorist group Jamaat al Ansar al Muslimeen fi Bilad al Sudan, better known as Ansaru, claims to have killed at least 6 people, kidnapped dozens, and destroyed several vehicles during an ambush along the Kaduna-Zaira highway in Kaduna State in mid-January.”
Since January 2018, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has protested regularly in central Abuja and other cities.
According to the UK advisory, terrorist attacks often happen in the north east, particularly in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States.
“Humanitarian hubs have been targeted during attacks in the north east, including Monguno, Borno State on 13 June 2020.
“There have also been significant attacks in Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Jos and Bauchi States and in the Federal capital, Abuja. Further attacks are likely,” the office warned.
It also revealed the high threat of kidnappings throughout the country which “can be motivated by criminality or terrorism and could be carried out for financial or political gain.
“Anecdotal evidence suggests that the risk of kidnap increases after dark. The security environment in the northeast has deteriorated since 2018 and there is a heightened risk of kidnap. Kidnaps in the northeast have included humanitarian and private-sector workers.”
The UK Foreign Office also revealed that “Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) are continuing to actively plan to kidnap foreigners.
“As well as in north-east Nigeria, extremist groups operate in some northern and middle belt states including Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Kogi, Kaduna, Niger and Adamawa.”
It, therefore, warned its nationals to “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.”
According to data provided by the website, “about 117,000 British nationals visit Nigeria each year and most visits are trouble-free.”