Posted by From Martins Oloja and Nkechi Onyedika (Abuja) on
NIGERIA yesterday followed the example of other nations on travel advice to their citizens travelling to other countries....
NIGERIA yesterday followed the example of other nations on travel advice to their citizens travelling to other countries.
The government urged its citizens "to be wary of miscreants who employ a great variety" of tricks "to dispossess people" of their property.
The "miscreants," the government added, are "generally white" although "persons of east European and North African origins are not excluded."
The advice was confirmed in a statement by the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation yesterday as emanating from the Nigerian High Commission in London.
The United States and the UK frequently issue such pieces of advice to their nationals, which the Nigerian government has always swiftly refuted.
The ministry's statement yesterday read: "We have just received a travel advice from the Nigerian High Commission in London, United Kingdom, urging Nigerians travelling to the UK to be wary of miscreants who employ a great variety of trickeries to dispossess people of their properties".
Such tricks, it added, include "pouring tomato juice or other substances" upon their victims' dresses, and then offering to help remove it.
"They may also feign to pick an object which had fallen under their victims seat in order to distract attention," the statement added.
It continued: "In the recent past, the Nigerian High Commission has observed an upsurge in pick-pocketing, actual robberies and assault against Nigerians who are on visit to London. The major flashpoints of these crimes include airports, hotels and restaurants, high-streets, shopping centres, markets, tube stations, bus-stops and even inside buses. The occurrences have been particularly high at Heathrow Airport, Oxford Street, Piccadilly and Charring Cross."
The government continued: "There is also no evidence that Nigerians are being specifically targeted but ostentatious dressing, spending and ancillary actions may identify a target."
It therefore advised Nigerian travellers "not to carry large amount of money on their body and ensure their air-tickets, passports, expensive wrist-watches as well as trinkets are securely hidden."
The statement added: "Importantly, people should watch out for Metropolitan Police signs, which warn that "thieves operate in this area".
The Nigerian government's statement is all too familiar, often coming from the U.S. and the UK. The British government, only on June 6, 2006, issued a travel advice on Nigeria.
The summary of the advice, which came from the UK High Commission in Nigeria, went thus:
* We advise against all travel to the Bakassi Peninsula and to the riverine areas of Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states. We also advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states.
* In 2006, there has been an increase in crime and armed attacks against expatriates in the Niger Delta. A U.S. citizen was shot and killed in Port Harcourt in May 2006. There is a high risk of kidnapping in the Delta. Twelve British nationals have been kidnapped this year in four separate incidents. There is also a risk of indiscriminate violence: In April 2006, two car bombs were detonated in Port Harcourt and Warri.
* The Nigerian authorities have increased the level of security at airports in the south of the country due to security concerns.
* Localised outbreaks of civil unrest can occur at short notice. Details and advice are circulated via the British High Commission's Community Liaison Officers' network.
* Violent crime is especially prevalent in the south of the country, including Lagos.
* The most common problems encountered by British nationals in Nigeria are attempts by scam artists to extract money from their intended victims. These scams come in many forms and can cause considerable financial loss to victims.
* You should be aware of the threat from terrorism in Nigeria. A statement issued by Usama Bin Laden in February 2003 called for an uprising by Muslims in a number of countries including Nigeria. He suggested that 'faithful Muslims' rise up against the Nigerian Government. He also referred to "support for brothers" in Nigeria in December 2004.
* You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets.
* We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
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