December 29, 2003
This Travel Warning is being issued to update information on religious/ethnic tensions, and fraudulent practices. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued June 26, 2003.
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the dangers of travel to Nigeria. Conditions in Nigeria pose considerable risks to travelers.
Violent crime committed by ordinary criminals, as well as by persons in police and military uniforms, can occur throughout the country. Kidnapping for ransom of persons associated with the petroleum sector, including U.S. citizens, remains common in the Niger Delta area.
Religious tension between some Muslim and Christian communities results in occasional acts of isolated communal violence that could erupt quickly and without warning. Rival ethnic groups have clashed violently, most recently in the Niger Delta region around Warri city.
Periodically, travel by U.S. mission personnel is restricted based on changing security conditions. U.S. citizens should contact the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos for the most up-to-date information on these restrictions.
Use of public transportation throughout Nigeria can be dangerous and should be avoided. Taxis pose risks because of the possibility of fraudulent or criminal operators, old and unsafe vehicles, and poorly maintained roads. Most Nigerian airlines have aging fleets, and maintenance and operational procedures may be inadequate to ensure passenger safety.
Nigerian-based business and individuals conduct advance fee fraud and other scams that target foreigners worldwide. These fraudulent activities pose great risk of financial loss. Recipients pursuing such fraudulent offers open themselves to the possibility of physical harm if they travel to Nigeria. Persons contemplating business deals in Nigeria are strongly urged to check with the U.S. Department of Commerce or the U.S. Department of State before providing any information or making any financial commitments. No one should provide personal financial or account information to unknown parties. An invitation to enter Nigeria without a visa is normally indicative of illegal activity. Under no circumstances should U.S. citizens travel to Nigeria without a valid visa. Furthermore, the ability of U.S. Embassy officers to extricate U.S. citizens from unlawful business deals and their consequences is extremely limited.
Worldwide cautions pertaining to terrorist threats should be read by all prospective travelers to Nigeria and are applicable to all American citizens and facilities in Nigeria. Please see the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement.
Information on travel and security in Nigeria may be obtained from the Department Of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States; or, from overseas, call 1-317-472-2328. The Internet address for the US Embassy in Nigeria is http://usembassy.state.gov/nigeria. The U.S. embassy in Nigeria can be contacted by phone at (9) 523-0916. American citizens may contact the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos at 011 (1) 261-1215 during business hours. For after hours emergencies call  (1) 261-1414, 261-0195, 261-0078, 261-0139, or 261-6477.
U.S. citizens should also read the Department of State’s Consular Information Sheet for Nigeria and the Department’s brochures, “Tips for Business Travelers to Nigeria” and “Advance Fee Business Scams.” All are available at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad and on the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs web site, http://travel.state.gov.
Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings