Lagos, April 17, 2008
This Warden Message is being issued to advise American citizens of the recent increase in reports of waterborne criminal activity on Ikoyi and Victoria Islands, Lagos.
With the Nigerian Police Force’s increased presence on the roadways, criminal gangs are using boats to access their targets and to circumvent the standard checkpoints. Compounds near or on Lagos Lagoon have been targeted, infiltrated and violently attacked by waterborne gangs. The U.S. Consulate General Lagos experienced this type of attack at one of its residences; a similar attack took place next door to another of its residences. Criminals have used domestic quarters as a route into the main compound by obtaining the domestic’s keys and other items/information, facilitating easier access to the residence. In another incident, compound attackers accessed an apartment building via Lagos Lagoon and allegedly used a set of keys to open at least one unit.
Additional reporting in Lagos indicates a trend involving armed attackers, often dressed as police or in business suits, gaining access to compounds by following closely behind the car of a legitimate guest or resident. Once the guards open the gate, the attackers jump out and subdue, assault, and/or rob the guards and inhabitants of the car before moving on to individual units.
If you notice a car following closely behind you or suddenly appearing while entering a housing compound, immediately alert the guards if possible that the car is not with you. If you can, drive away until in a safe area and call the authorities for assistance.
Take strong security steps to decrease your vulnerability to a criminal attack by establishing a personalized emergency action plan for your residence. Use the points below to help you:
- Control the keys to your residence! If you give your domestic a key, limit it to the key for the secondary lock.
- Keep all ground floor and balcony windows, doors and grills locked when not in use, and particularly before retiring for the evening. Close all drapes.
- Keep doors locked during the day, even if you or your domestic are inside.
- Discourage children from answering the door or the gate bell. Do not open the door or gate until you have identified the visitor. Domestics and dependents should be instructed to do the same and to report any strange visitor, activity that occurred in your absence.
- If you leave your residence unoccupied during evening hours, turn on lights to make it appear someone is home.
- If you intend to be away for more than 24 hours, have a friend/neighbor check your residence daily at irregular times.
- Inspect your home periodically to identify any inoperative security items.
- Brief your household staff on security procedures you wish them to follow and how you wish them to handle emergencies. Ensure your household staff is aware when repairmen and visitors are coming to your residence. Instruct them not to let anyone onto your property whom you have not previously authorized to be there.
We continue to advise all Americans to review their security procedures, remain vigilant to their surroundings, and report specific incidences of targeted violence to the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the U. S. Consulate General in Lagos at the numbers below.
For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs internet website http://travel.state.gov/, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. Federal Holidays.)
U.S. Embassy Abuja is located at Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central Business District, Abuja; the telephone number is 09-461-4000. E-Mail: ConsularAbuja@state.gov
The U.S. Consulate Lagos is located at 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos; the telephone number is 01-261-1215. For after-hours emergencies, call 011  (1) 261-1414, 261-0195, 261-0078, 261-0139, or 261-6477. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org