Nigeria Country Report
President Muhammadu Buhari appears increasingly likely to stand again for a second term in February 2019, although his reputation has been damaged by a critical assessment from former leader Olusegun Obasanjo and another mass abduction of schoolgirls by militants. Buhari has belatedly ordered military deployments to combat a surge in killings resulting from confrontations between farmers and herdsmen in the Middle Belt. The government is putting a clear emphasis on transport projects, particularly rail, to build up a strong track record of achievement before the election. The threat of resumed attacks by Niger Delta mliitants will remain high at least until the 2019 poll. Boko Haram is showing signs of recovered strength in the northeast despite an unresolved split in the group'sleadership.
Efforts to reorganise the ailing oil industry and reform the state-owned petroleum corporation continue to be contested by unions. Labour organisations have been threatening industrial action over lack of funding and consultation, while the main union coalition has stepped up the pressure to substantially increase a minimum wage eroded by inflation. Some progress has been made on dismantling structures facilitating massive corruption under the previous government, although the effect of an anti-corruption drive has been blunted by failure to successfully prosecute any well-resourced defendants and a scattergun approach to investigations.
The Niger Delta and northeast continue to trade places as the region containing the greatest terrorist threat to Nigeria. Attacks by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) had cut Nigerian oil output by one-third within three months of the group's formation and caused severe economic hardship through loss of revenue, power, and fuel. These stopped at the end of 2016, but in November 2017 and January 2018 the NDA issued fresh threats to resume attacks after becoming frustrated by lack of progress in negotiations. Jihadist group Boko Haram has split over leadership issues but the Islamic State-affiliated faction poses a resurgent threat to security forces and humanitarian convoys.
High levels of fatalities in spreading violent confrontations between farmers and herdsmen is driving fears of wider sectarian conflict in Middle Belt states. President Buhari has been criticised for failing to take appropriate action as he shares the herders' Fulani ethnicity, though military deployments have started to worst-affected states. Nigeria has been working closely with largest Francophone neighbour Cameroon, extraditing secessionist supporters. Such actions are in line with stronger links established by Buhari with Francophone neighbours affected by Boko Haram, aiding military co-operation and reducing any risk of sovereign cross-border conflict.
Inter-ethnic and ethno-religious conflicts constitute an enduring security threat. Overshadowed by the Boko Haram and Niger Delta insurgencies, violence between Christians and Muslims has persisted in the Middle Belt, with raids on villages often causing dozens of deaths, exacerbated by even more widespread conflict between farmers and pastoralists. The violence has surged since the start of 2018 and will drive demonstrations in urban areas calling for a concerted government and security force response. The Islamic Movement of Nigeria has been banned, but this Shia organisation retains a strong following and continues to demonstrate for the release of its detained leader.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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