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Country Reports

Nigeria Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

President Muhammadu Buhari secured another four-year term in the election on 23 February 2019, taking 55.6% of the vote compared to 41.2% for main rival Atiku Abubakar of the People's Democratic Party (PDP). Atiku has pledged to stage a legal challenge, but the unexpectedly large margin of victory greatly reduces the risk of nationwide violent unrest by PDP supporters disputing the outcome. Buhari has pledged to create 10 million new jobs but has given little indication of how this might be achieved, while unemployment tripled during his first term. The main focus of government policy is again likely to centre on transport infrastructure, especially railway reconstruction, and support for agriculture with the aim of promoting self-sufficiency and reducing the import bill. An order in August 2018 to telecoms firm MTN to repatriate USD8.1 billion and a USD2-billion tax arrears bill a few days later underline high risks of arbitrary tax demands or financial penalties – often using regulatory loopholes – to squeeze profitable enterprises in search of windfall payments. The repatriation dispute was settled on 24 December 2018 for just USD53 million. Nigeria’s economy is recovering gradually but several risks overshadow the 2019 outlook. Oil export receipts remain vulnerable to volatile global crude oil prices, while limited hard-currency access, double-digit inflation, and capital flow reversals weigh on non-oil growth. A focus on national and then state elections is delaying key economic reforms needed to unlock growth potential. An uneasy militant truce is likely to prevail in the oil-producing Niger Delta in the 12-month outlook, despite a pre-election threat by the Niger Delta Avengers to resume activities if Buhari won. There is a rising risk of the Islamic State-affiliated faction of Boko Haram resuming IED attacks outside the northeast: a series of successful attacks on military targets underline its growing capability and weapons stockpiling.
Last update: March 26, 2019

Operational Outlook

The newly elected Senate passed legislation on 19 March 2019 introducing an enhanced minimum wage, reducing the risk of nationwide strike action calling for its prompt implementation. Unions in the oil industry are likely to remain active and frequently threaten strikes, although these are commonly averted through negotiations, or of short duration. An anti-corruption drive is likely to remain largely ineffective due to the entrenched interests of powerful government figures, and limited resources of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Corruption investigations involving co-operation from foreign holders of illicit funds are more likely than domestic processes to lead to successful asset recoveries.

Last update: March 26, 2019

Terrorism

Severe

A surge in repeated successful attacks on military bases by the Islamic State faction of Boko Haram is making official claims the group is technically defeated look increasingly nonsensical. The Islamist militants appear at their strongest since late 2014 against a demoralised and poorly resourced army, and likely have an aspirational target to resume attacks outside their northeast heartland. The faction led by Abubakar Shekau will continue to stage regular suicide bombings. The Niger Delta Avengers poses a reduced threat as prominent leaders are likely bought off by concessions, but the threat to oil and gas infrastructure is only likely to diminish significantly after early 2019 polls.

Last update: January 25, 2019

Crime

Nigeria is a central link in African organised crime networks, with criminal groups from Nigeria and, to a lesser extent, Ghana believed to control much of the cocaine and heroin trade. The country is also regarded as both a major supplier and final destination for human traffickers, while regional and domestic conflicts have led to increased inflows of weapons into Nigeria. Oil theft is widespread in the Niger Delta as an adjunct to and funder of recurrent separatist militancy. Despite domestic attempts to boost anti-trafficking operations, institutional and resource weaknesses, porous borders, poor training, and corruption continue to hamper attempts to fight crime.

Last update: March 27, 2019

War Risks

Nigeria has improved security co-operation with neighbours Cameroon, Chad, and Niger to obstruct Boko Haram militants crossing borders to stage attacks. This is likely to lead to progressive securing of porous frontiers, with an elevated risk of border closure at short notice, particularly with Niger. The risk of civil war is very high, because of anger of Christian communities in Middle Belt states along Nigeria's east-west sectarian fault line towards President Muhammadu Buhari's perceived failure to counteract the raids of Fulani herdsmen. A steady rate of reprisal attacks is likely to drive occasional periods of violent unrest in Middle Belt cities.

Last update: March 27, 2019

Social Stability

Very high

Sectarian violence is again rising in the Middle Belt, especially Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, and Kaduna states, with widespread conflict between farmers and pastoralists. The violence will continue at a high level because overstretched security forces cannot stage prolonged operations. It will drive demonstrations in urban areas calling for an improved government and security force response, and reprisal attacks on Muslim communities. Protests by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria calling for their leader's release from detention will continue in federal capital Abuja, despite security forces showing themselves increasingly prone to violent repression, shooting dead 45 demonstrators in late October 2018.

Last update: January 25, 2019

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and over one year of age.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

The Harmattan (wind) affects the coastal states of the Gulf of Guinea, including Nigeria, every year from November to April. It carries large quantities of dust and sand, which can lead to significant disturbances in air traffic and breathing difficulties.

During the rainy season (May to October), localized flooding is also possible, which can cause traffic problems. The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) predicted that 27 out of the 36 states are likely to see flooding in 2017. The states include Abia, Kogi, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara, Gombe, Lagos, Delta, Yobe, Kano, Imo, Bayelsa, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Taraba, Adamawa, Borno, Ebonyi, Anambra, Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Cross River, Kaduna, Jigawa, and Benue.

Because of significant ocean currents on the Nigerian coast, individuals should exercise caution when swimming as cases of drowning are reported each year.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Very high

It is recommended to use air transportation when traveling around the country. For flights to major destinations within the country, Air Peace and Med View airlines are recommended. The schedule of the airline operators can be confirmed on their websites.

Except for main roads in the north and southwest (Lagos region), road infrastructure is typically poor: roads are usually poorly maintained and not well lit. Travel by car is often dangerous due to these conditions as well as the aggressive driving habits of many locals (speeding, erratic driving, aggressive passing, etc.). Driving at night should be avoided altogether due to the elevated risk of attacks. In case of an accident involving personal injury caused to locals, it is also strongly advised to go immediately to the nearest police station because of the risk of a hostile reaction. Finally, it is important to respect the many roadblocks erected by security forces, both in cities and the countryside.

Intercity travel that cannot be made by airplane should be made in convoys of several 4x4 vehicles with a sufficient supply of water, food, and fuel, and accompanied by armed guards. In some areas (Niger Delta and outside the secure areas of Abuja and Lagos in particular), an armed guards escort (MOPOL) is required. It may be advisable to inform a trusted individual about the planned route and schedule. When possible, it is recommended to vary travel routes and time in order to thwart the surveillance of potential criminals.

In cities, it is recommended to avoid using taxis due to the risk of being targeted by criminals. This recommendation also applies for moto-taxis in Lagos, which are known to be dangerous. It is advised to use taxis with drivers employed by a reputable company. Carjackings and thefts, sometimes committed by armed men, are frequent on urban and rural roads. It is recommended to keep valuables out of sight and to drive with doors locked and windows rolled up.

A rail network exists in the country but is in poor condition. However, in an effort to modernize the country, the president plans to rebuild 3505 km (2178 mi) of railway lines and on July 26, 2016, inaugurated the first high-speed train line linking Abuja to Kaduna.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Infrastructure

Access to electricity is not guaranteed throughout Nigeria; only 55.6 percent of the population has access.

In 2015, only 69 percent of the population had access to running water.

Access to information technology is widely available in Nigeria (mobile phones are owned by 78 percent of people and 43 percent have access to the internet). Increasing access to information technology has led to the development of e-commerce in the country. The Nigerian-based website Jumia is one of the foremost e-commerce websites on the continent.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

The north of the country is hot and dry with a long rainy season (April to September). The south is more humid with a rainy season from March to November. Generally speaking temperatures are lower in the south but very high humidity levels can make conditions much more unpleasant there. A respite from this humidity often comes in December and January as the Harmattan, a hot and dry trade wind from the Sahara, passes through the region.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +234
Police: 090 40 87 21
Ambulance: 199

Electricity

Voltage: 240 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019