Ahead of Nigeria’s elections which were postponed to March 28 and April 11 from February 14 and 28 over security concerns, the United States has alerted its citizens of the risks of traveling within Nigeria between now and May 25.
“We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Nigeria enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you do not have internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate,” a statement by the US Department of State said.
Citizens are also advised to regularly monitor the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website, “where you can find current Travel Warnings, including the Travel Warning for Nigeria, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.”
Recent comments from supporters of the two major parties in the country, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have raised fears of possible violence during or after the election. But presidential candidates of the two parties have signed a peace accord, together with 12 other aspirants. Nigerians will be hoping that they honour the agreement.
Officials of the US had also previously recommended that Americans avoid all but essential travel to Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Borno, Delta, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara, due to risk of kidnappings, robberies and other armed attacks by Boko Haram.
The terrorists have killed more than 11,000 people since its violent campaign started in 2009.