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Message for American Citizens

Easter Weekend Security Warning and Kidnapping Threats in Lagos

March 28, 2013

The U.S. Embassy in Nigeria issues the following security message for the attention of all U.S. citizens in Nigeria.

The Government of Nigeria has declared Friday, March 29 and Monday, April 1 public holidays.  Given the history of attacks throughout Nigeria during previous holiday weekends, as well as the recent attack in Kano on March 18 and the failed attempt in Kano on March 23, the U.S. Mission in Nigeria urges all U.S. citizens living and traveling in Nigeria to take extra precautions for your personal security and safety.

Due to the continued threat of kidnapping of expatriates country-wide, including recent kidnappings on Victoria Island in Lagos, the U.S. Mission recommends that U.S. citizens and organizations maintain accountability for the whereabouts of their staff, test communication systems to ensure that they are working properly, and ensure secure means of transport for any necessary travel. 

The U.S. Mission advises all U.S. citizens to be particularly vigilant around churches and other places of worship, locations where large crowds may gather, government facilities, and areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers during the upcoming holiday weekend.  Security measures in Nigeria remain heightened due to threats posed by extremist groups, and U.S. citizens should expect additional police and military checkpoints, additional security, and possible road blocks throughout the country during the holiday weekend.

The U.S. Embassy in Abuja and the U.S. Consulate in Lagos will close on Friday, March 29 and Monday, April 1 in observance of the national holidays.

Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities.

Below are some practical security measures you can take to lower your risk of being a victim:

  • Be alert to your surroundings at all times.
  • Avoid walking/driving while using your cell phone.
  • Keep your doors locked and windows up while in your vehicle.
  • Avoid travelling alone, there's safety in numbers.
  • Keep your friends/family informed of when/where you will be and how to reach you.
  • If you are in a situation where you feel threatened, proceed to the nearest police station in a populated area.

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.

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.  Read the Country Specific Information for Nigeria.  For additional information; refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad" on the State Department's website.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well, or you can download our free Smart Traveler App, available through iTunes and the Android marketplace, for travel information at your fingertips. 

The U.S. Embassy in Abuja, located at Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central District Area, is open Monday - Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, located at 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, is open Monday - Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Friday 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  The U.S. Embassy in Abuja can be reached by telephone, including after-hours emergencies, at +234(9) 461-4000, or by email at ConsularAbuja@state.gov.  The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos can be reached by telephone, including after-hours emergencies at +234(1) 460-3600 or +234 (1) 460-3400, or by email at LagosACS@state.gov.  For more information, please visit the U.S. Mission in Nigeria website.