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M2 Presswire: UK Government: Nigeria: foreign office amends travel advice

The Foreign Office today revised its travel advice for Nigeria. We are now advising against all travel to the Niger Delta due to the high risk of kidnapping, armed robbery and other armed attacks in the area.

The relevant summary points now read:

* We advise against all travel to the Niger Delta (Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States, including Port Harcourt). This is because of the very high risk of kidnapping, armed robbery and other armed attacks in these areas. In fourteen separate incidents since January 2006, 30 British nationals and over 180 foreign nationals have been kidnapped in the Niger Delta area and one Briton has been killed. See the Terrorism/Security section of this travel advice for more details.

* If you decide to travel to, or remain in, the Niger Delta you do so at your own risk. The level of consular assistance we can provide is limited. If your presence is essential, it would be reckless to travel to, or remain in, the Niger Delta unless you have taken appropriate professional security advice and have acted upon it. If travelling by road you should use fully protected transport.

* We advise against all but essential travel to Akwa Ibom State because of the high risk of kidnapping, armed robbery and other armed attacks in these areas. You should maintain a high level of vigilance at all times, observe the strictest security measures and not travel unnecessarily.

* There is also a risk of kidnapping in other States in south-east Nigeria. On 17 March 2007, two Chinese nationals were taken hostage at Nnewi, Anambra State. See the Terrorism/Security section of this travel advice for more details.

* Localised outbreaks of civil unrest can occur at short notice.

Details and advice are circulated via the British High Commission’s Community Liaison Officers’ network.

Notes to editors

The advice previously read:

We advise against all travel to the riverine areas of Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States. Riverine areas are those accessible only by boat.

This is because of the very high risk of kidnapping, armed robbery and other armed attacks in these areas.

We advise against all but essential travel to Akwa Ibom State and the rest of Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States, including Port Harcourt, because of the high risk of kidnapping, armed robbery and other armed attacks in these areas. On 18 December 2006, two bombs exploded in Port Harcourt, one in a Shell residential compound and the other at Agip’s headquarters. In these areas, which include Port Harcourt, you should maintain a high level of vigilance at all times, observe the strictest security measures and not travel unnecessarily.

There is a high risk of further kidnappings by armed militants around the oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta; this also applies to ships and oil rigs at sea off the coast of the Niger Delta. In 2007 there has been an increase in attacks offshore. In thirteen separate incidents since January 2006, 26 British nationals have been kidnapped. One Briton has been killed. Since that time over 150 foreign nationals have been kidnapped in the Niger Delta area. In 2007 there has been an increase in attacks offshore. A British national was abducted from an oil rig off the coast of Bayelsa State in the Niger Delta on 5 May.

There is also a risk of kidnapping in other States in south-east Nigeria. On 17 March 2007 , two Chinese nationals were taken hostage at Nnewi, Anambra State. See the Terrorism/Security section of this travel advice for more details.

In the run up to the inauguration of the new Nigerian President on 29 May there is a heightened risk of political demonstrations throughout Nigeria. There is also a heightened risk during this time of further serious attacks and kidnappings by armed groups in the Niger Delta against Western interests, particularly in, though not limited to, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states.

If you decide to travel to, or remain in, these areas you do so at your own risk. The level of consular assistance we can provide in these areas is limited. If your presence is essential, it would be reckless to travel to, or remain in, these areas unless you have taken appropriate professional security advice and have acted upon it. If travelling by road you should use fully protected transport.

* Full details of the revised travel advice for Nigeria are available on the Foreign Office website (http://www.fco.gov.uk).

* FCO Travel Advice can also be obtained on the following telephone number: 0845 850 2829.

* FCOTravel Advice is kept under constant review. This advice is based on our latest assessment of the situation in Nigeria.

((M2 Communications Ltd disclaims all liability for information provided within M2 PressWIRE. Data supplied by named party/parties. Further information on M2 PressWIRE can be obtained at http://www.presswire.net on the world wide web. Inquiries to [email protected])).

Published: May 28, 2007

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