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Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens

Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens (September 12, 2012)

September 12, 2012

The U.S. Mission in Nigeria issues this emergency message to update U.S. citizens on the current threat situation in Nigeria. 

The U.S. Mission reminds citizens of the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas.  Violent and deadly demonstrations and attacks occurred in Cairo, Egypt, and Benghazi, Libya, during the past 24 hours, including a lethal attack against the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.  Extremists may attempt to target U.S citizens and other  Westerners in Nigeria.  The U.S. Mission in Nigeria strongly urges U.S. citizens in Nigeria to consider their personal security and to keep personal safety in the forefront of their planning.

Last week, extremists attacked cellular telephone towers in Northern Nigeria, damaging over 30 towers and degrading cellular telephone and internet communications nationwide.  Additional attacks could further weaken the ability of citizens to communicate through cellular telephones and the internet.  Land line telephone communications in Nigeria remain limited.  U.S. citizens should attempt to arrange for multiple means of communication during emergencies.

This year, extremists have attacked many locations in Nigeria, killing and injuring hundreds of people.  They have threatened churches, mosques, media houses, police stations, immigration and customs offices, financial institutions, large hotels, shopping malls and markets, state government offices, communications centers, beer gardens, and nightclubs.  Attackers have also burned and destroyed several public and private schools in Borno, and targeted several educational institutions in Kano and churches in Plateau, Bauchi, Kaduna, Niger, and Borno states.  Additionally, extremists continue to target westerners for abduction.  As such, the situation in the country remains fluid and unpredictable. 

All U.S. citizens should use caution and discretion when deciding to attend large functions or visit establishments identified as potential targets, and respond appropriately if they detect suspicious activities.  Because of ongoing security concerns within the Federal Capital Territory, U.S. citizens should continue to expect heavy traffic congestion, road blocks, and significant police/security force deployments.  All U.S. citizens should remain vigilant, pay attention to their surroundings, limit exposure to large crowds, and keep their cellular telephones in close proximity for use in cases of emergency.

U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Nigeria are strongly advised to enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  By enrolling, you make it easier for the U.S. Mission in Nigeria to contact you in case of emergency.

U.S. citizens should contact the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos for up-to-date information on any restrictions.  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 at http://nigeria.usembassy.gov

Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling  1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States or THE regular toll line  1-202-501-4444 for callers from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except ON U.S. federal holidays).  You can also stay up to date by bookmarking The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website, www.travel.state.gov, which contains ALL current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as Worldwide Cautions.  The Bureau of Consular Affairs can also be followed on Twitter; the Bureau of Consular Affairs maintains A page on Facebook as well.