On Tuesday, June 13, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) permanently deployed 500 additional security personnel along the Abuja-Kaduna highway – which connects the capital city of Abuja with the city of Kaduna – to combat kidnappings and armed robberies. The additional personnel will support an anti-kidnapping police unit that was deployed in Katari in August 2016.
An increase in for-ransom kidnappings targeting both local residents and foreign nationals has been observed over the past few years throughout the country, including along the Abuja-Kaduna highway. Over ten people, including a government lawmaker, were kidnapped by armed assailants along the highway last week.
The security situation is particularly poor in the north of the country. Public venues (markets, places of worship, schools, bars, areas where broadcasts of sports competitions are displayed, etc.) as well as security forces and governmental buildings are frequently targeted in terrorist attacks, suicide bombings (targeted or untargeted), and kidnappings (regularly followed by assassination and targeting primarily foreign nationals). The northeastern region of Nigeria is highly susceptible to attacks by Boko Haram, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) in March 2015 and formally adopted the name of Islamic State in West Africa.
The security environment in Nigeria is complex and particularly poor in the northeast and extreme south of the country due to the presence of armed groups, high crime rates, and the risk of kidnapping. Some Western governments consequently advise against travel to certain areas of the northeast (e.g. states of Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, and Jigawa as well as parts of Kano and Adamawa states) and the southern Niger Delta region (e.g. states of Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers). Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel to these areas.