SAFETY AND SECURITY:
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the dangers of travel to Nigeria.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found.
Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, by calling a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad.
CRIME: Visitors and resident Americans have experienced armed mugging, assault, burglary, kidnapping and extortion, often involving violence. Carjacking, roadblock robberies, and armed break-ins are common in many parts of Nigeria. Visitors to Nigeria, including a number of American citizens, have been victims of armed robbery on the road from Murtala Mohammed International Airport during both daylight and nighttime hours. Law enforcement authorities usually respond to crimes slowly and provide little or no investigative support to victims. U.S. citizens have experienced harassment and shakedowns at checkpoints and during encounters with Nigerian officials.
Upon arrival in Nigeria, U.S. citizens are urged to register at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos (see Registration/Embassy Location section below), where they may obtain current safety information and advice on minimizing risks.
Nigerian-operated scams are infamous for their cleverness and ingenuity. These scams target foreigners worldwide posing risks of both financial loss and personal danger to their victims. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings, unsolicited emails, faxes, and letters, as well as by use of credit cards and Internet cafes in Nigeria. No one should provide personal or financial information to unknown parties or via Nigerian telephone lines. Expanding bilateral law enforcement cooperation, which has resulted in numerous raids on commercial fraud premises, has reduced the overall level of overt fraud activity, but new types of sophisticated scams are introduced daily.
American citizens are very frequently the victims of Nigerian con men/women offering companionship through Internet dating websites. These con men/women almost always pose as American citizens visiting or living in Nigeria who unexpectedly experience a medical, legal, financial or other type of “emergency” that requires the immediate financial assistance of the American citizen in the United States. In these cases, we strongly urge the American citizen in the United States to be very cautious about sending money to this person or any unknown person purportedly acting on his/her behalf, or traveling to Nigeria to meet someone they have only known via the Internet and have never actually met in person. Other common scams involve a promise of an inheritance windfall, a promise of work contracts in Nigeria, or overpayment for goods purchased online.
Commercial scams or stings that targets foreigners, including many U.S. citizens, continue to be a problem. Such scams may involve U.S. citizens in illegal activity, resulting in arrest, extortion or bodily harm. The scams generally involve phony offers of either outright money transfers or lucrative sales, or contracts with promises of large commissions or up-front payments. Alleged deals frequently invoke the authority of one or more ministries or offices of the Nigerian government and may cite, by name, the involvement of a Nigerian government official. In some scams, government stationery, seals, and offices are used. The ability of U.S. consuls to extricate U.S. citizens from unlawful business deals and their consequences is extremely limited. Since the mid-1990s, several U.S. citizens have been arrested by police officials and held for varying periods on charges of involvement in illegal business scams. Nigerian police do not always inform the U.S. Embassy or Consulate of a U.S. citizen in distress. The U.S. Department of Commerce has issued advisories to the U.S. business community on doing business in Nigeria. To check on a business’s legitimacy while in the United States, contact the Nigeria Desk Officer at the International Trade Administration, Room 3317, Dept. of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230. (Tel: 1-800-USA-TRADE or 202-482-5149, fax: 202-482-5198.) If you are abroad, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_t ... s_987.html