By Tokunbo Adedoja / January 14, 2012 / Thisday
The United States has issued a fresh travel warning on Nigeria citing the recent declaration of state of emergency in some states by President Goodluck Jonathan and the protests trailing the removal of fuel subsidy.
The new warning, which was issued by the State Department, was dated January 12 and replace that of October 13, 2011.
US citizens were not only warned against travelling to Nigeria , they were also cautioned not to travel to 10 states of the federation and the Gulf of Guinea because of the risks of kidnapping, robbery, and other armed attacks.
The 10 states are Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Abia, Edo , Imo, Plateau, Bauchi and Borno.
The US said with the state of emergency declared in four northern states following attacks by Boko Haram, the military now has sweeping powers to search and arrest without warrants.
It also said the nationwide strike over subsidy removal has raised concern over security and led to the disruption of international flights .
The travel warning recalled the attacks by Boko Haram in some northern states and kidnapping in some southern states, adding that these have made travelling to some parts of the country riskier.
According to the US , from January 2009 to November 2010, over 140 foreigners had been kidnapped in Nigeria , including seven US citizens while six of them were killed during these abductions.
Noting that the risk of additional attacks against Western targets in Nigeria remains high, US said, "Travel by foreigners to areas considered by the Nigerian government to be conflict areas without prior consultation and coordination with local security authorities is not recommended."
On the Gulf of Guinea , it cited regular reports of piracy and armed gangs boarding both commercial and private vessels to rob travellers, adding that, "The Nigerian Navy has limited capacity to respond to criminal acts at sea."