US says 16 states in Nigeria are unsafe

By The Rainbow

It is not safe to travel to 16 out of the 36 states in Nigeria; the United States of America has told its citizens its latest travel advisory.

The three northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, which  have been under emergency rule after a presidential declaration on May 14, 2013, aimed at restoring safety and security due to insurgent activities in the area, top the list of the states.

In the advisory  released by the State Department and dated January 8, 2014, US also listed  Bauchi, Bayelsa, Delta, Gombe and Jigawa States.

The other states on the list, which the US said are prone to kidnappings, robberies and other armed attacks are Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara.

The country advised its citizens to avoid all but essential travels to the listed states.

Abia, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Imo and Rivers States, which were in an earlier list issued in June 2013, are not on the latest travel alert list.

It also described the security situation in Nigeria as 'fluid and unpredictable', warning against travel to the Gulf of Guinea because of the threat of piracy.

It also advised all US citizens to be particularly vigilant around government security facilities, 'places of worship and locations where large crowds may gather'.

According to the statement, 'Security measures in Nigeria remain heightened due to threats posed by extremist groups.

'Boko Haram, an extremist group based in northeast Nigeria designated as a Foreign Terrorist organisation by the Department of State, has claimed responsibility for many attacks, mainly in northern Nigeria.'

According to the State Department, the Ansaru group, an offshoot of Boko Haram, has carried out several kidnappings targeting foreigners in Nigeria and had  claimed responsibility for other violent acts in the past year.