There have been many speculations by foreigners who are visiting Nigeria as regards to security and health safety. While some international travel blogs or websites have tagged Nigeria a travel risk country, it will be wise to examine the map earlier released by International SOS and also read from a Nigerian on this.
First let’s examine the International SOS map last updated November 2015
International SOS in November 2015 under Travel Security Risk listed Nigeria as a high security risk, putting us on the same level as Chad, DRC and Venezuela. According to the map, travel in Nigeria is more risky than in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
High risk is applied to countries where protests are frequently violent and may target or disrupt foreigners.
It says in Nigeria “Protests are frequently violent and may target or disrupt foreigners; they may be exacerbated by governance issues, including security or law and order capacity. Violent crime or terrorism poses significant direct or incidental risks to travelers and expatriates. Communal, sectarian or racial violence is common and foreigners may be directly targeted. Certain parts of the country are inaccessible or off-limits to the traveler.”
So what does it take to be considered safe?
The status of “insignificant travel risk” applies to very few countries such as Norway, Switzerland and Greenland.
The map also rates medical risk in different countries. In this category, Nigeria is also considered high risk – “Basic emergency services and dental care may be available. Specialist care is limited. Access to quality prescription drugs may be limited and, in some cases, counterfeiting and/or improper storage of drugs is an issue. Serious infectious diseases such as typhoid, cholera, dengue fever and malaria may pose a threat.”
Road Safety Risk:
Nigeria is considered as a high risk saying “Road safety is a major public health issue. Many factors will likely be contributing to the dangers experienced by road users and high levels of caution should be shown at all times. Always select a reputable transport company and ensure seat-belts are fitted. Do not travel by 2 or 3 wheel vehicles and display high levels of care as a pedestrian.
Note: Dangers on the roads vary from country to country. Be sure to understand the laws and road safety culture of the country before you travel.”
To be considered as posing an insignificant travel risk, rates of violent crime need to be very low, security and emergency services must be effective and infrastructure must be reliable.
“Transport services are of a high standard with good safety records and only occasional travel disruption,” International SOS said.
For further reference you can see travelriskmap.com
Now from a Nigerian
It will be excessive to say Nigeria is a High Travel Risk country simply by generalizing based on few places in the Northern part that were experiencing security issues.
Presently many expatriates are domicile in Nigeria especially in the Eastern and Western part of the country. Also many people come in as tourists or for business. Nigerians are friendly and welcoming people. Visiting places in the western part like the cosmopolitan Lagos will pose a very exciting and fulfilling experience for you as Lagos is vibrant and often tagged the “New York” of Nigeria.
You can easily find classy hotels in Lagos that offer world class hospitality. Besides, locating restaurants that offer intercontinental cuisines in Lagos is not difficult especially in highbrow areas like Victoria Island, Ikeja, Ikoyi and Lekki. Even if you want to cook your meals yourself, it’s not difficult to get groceries from malls and supermarkets like Shoprite and Park ‘n’ Shop.
If you are to visit the northern areas like Kano, Borno, Maiduguri and the rest, it is advisable to have a local guide who can easily help you around and intercede on your behalf if issues arise.
Lastly, keep up to date with the news in where you are visiting in Nigeria by reading local newspapers online.
Welcome to Nigeria!