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Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens

Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens - General Strike Expected (January 06, 2012)

January 06, 2012

The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General issue the following emergency message for U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Nigeria.

The Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have called for a nationwide strike beginning Monday, January 9, to protest the Nigerian Government’s decision to end the subsidy on gasoline.  Other civil society groups may organize protests to coincide with the general strike.  Protests and demonstrations varying in size and disruption have already occurred in parts of the country as a result of the decision to end the subsidy.

We remind U.S. citizens that, even though organizers state their intent to stage peaceful strikes and protests, there is the potential that some events may become confrontational and escalate suddenly into violence.  We therefore urge U.S. citizens to avoid areas of such protests and to maintain low profiles.  Citizens should monitor news reports regarding the location of demonstrations.  During the general strike, U.S. citizens should expect closure of many shops, gas stations and banks.  Such protests may also delay or halt delivery of gasoline.  Because of the potential for gasoline and food shortages, U.S. citizens should conserve fuel, avoid unnecessary travel, and ensure that they have sufficient food supplies.  U.S. citizens should ensure that they have sufficient food, water, and fuel to last at least three days in the event that protests cause the temporary closure of stores and suspension of other services.  Both domestic and international air travel may also experience disruptions, and we encourage air travelers to confirm their flights in advance.  Protests may also affect ground transportation, including on roads between international airports and major cities, and additional police checkpoints will likely appear on many roads.

A similar general strike in July 2003 seriously disrupted public transportation and caused cancellation of some domestic airline flights.  Protestors also blocked roads in and around Abuja and in other areas.  Demonstrations occurred near government offices in Abuja.  Police responded by clearing the blocked roadways.  In some instances, police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators.

Please review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, monitor local news stations for updates, and report specific incidents of targeted violence to the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos at the numbers listed below.  For additional safety and security information, please refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad."

You can stay in touch and obtain Embassy updates by checking the U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria web site.  You can also obtain global updates at the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website where you can find the current Worldwide Caution, Travel WarningsTravel Alerts, and Country Specific Information.  Current information on safety and security is also available by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States, or for callers outside the United States, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

If you plan to reside in or visit Nigeria, please take the time to tell us about your travel by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.  It will also help your friends and family contact you in an emergency.  Please remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date.  During enrollment or updating of information, please include your current telephone number and e-mail address for reaching you in case of an emergency.

The U.S. Embassy in Abuja is located at 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central Area, Abuja. The Consular Section can be contacted, including during after-hours emergencies, at +234 (9) 461-4000 , or via e-mail at ConsularAbuja@state.gov.  The hours of operations are Monday through Thursday from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM and Friday from 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM, except holidays.

The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos is located at 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos.  The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos can be reached by telephone, including during after-hours emergencies at +234 (1) 460-3600 or +234 (1) 460-3400 , or via email at LagosACS@state.gov.  The hours of operations are Monday through Thursday from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM and Friday from 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM, except holidays.