Three states in Nigeria’s northeast, the epicentre of insurgency in the country, Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, have been ranked as the most dangerous states in the country to travel to.
Fourteen others made it to the high-risk group, according to a new travel advisory compiled by a private security company, PR24.
The 14 states, which emerged on the high-risk list in the report last updated on May 19, 2021, are: Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Delta, Benue, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba and Zamfara.
While no state in Nigeria qualified to be classified as being secure, however, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Cross River, Edo, Ekiti, Kano, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger , Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT,) made it to the medium risk group.
According to the report, only Lagos is fit to be classified as the only state with elevated risk, which indicated that increased level of caution should be exercised as distinct from extreme risk states, to which travels are not advised, high-risk states which require essential business travel only and medium, which require journey management and travel security.
The review showed that no state satisfied to be given the blue tick, which means that travellers should only exercise normal precautions.
For Adamawa, the security group said active cells of Boko Haram elements and Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) were still operating in certain parts of the state, raising risk concerns to severe levels for business travellers.
It stated that the conflict between armed criminal groups and government security forces is a near regular occurrence in the state, same for Borno and Yobe.
In Akwa Ibom, the report stated that certain gunmen operating in the state launched some attacks on government security forces, installation and personnel while police stations have been burnt, with vehicles and other assets lost in the attacks.
The activities of unknown gunmen in Anambra were attacks on government security forces personnel and assets in areas like Akwuzu, Oyi LGA, Anaocha LGA and Ekwulobia, Aguata LGA have been recorded, PR24 said had heightened insecurity in the state.
The story is the same in Abia with attacks on government installations and security personnel by unknown gunmen contributing to higher levels of risk for business travellers in the state.
It stated that one of the major security issues in Kogi State is that of kidnapping, which often occurs along major highways such as the Okene–Lokoja highway.
“Armed gunmen have also been logged operating within the state, in Dekina and Kogi LGAs. The state also records instances of farmer-herdsmen conflict and carry a distinct possibility of sudden violent outbreaks,” the report added.
In Kwara, it identified civil unrest as a major threat factor in the state, fuelled by clashes between commercial drivers and government forces, communal clashes and ethno-religious skirmishes within the metropolis.
However, in Lagos, which scored highest in terms of general security, the company stated that high road usage and poor travel conditions result in an increased risk of road traffic accidents within the state.
“Cult and gang activities also threaten business travel within the state, especially in communities under Ikorodu and Badagry LGAs. Additional layers of security are advised to maintain personal safety in some areas,” it added.
In Niger, insurgency and kidnapping were listed as major threat factors, while in Ogun, repeated attacks by rogue herdsmen on farming settlements in Odogbolu, and Imeko-Afon LGAs increase travel risk along that axis.
It is the same for Ondo, where clashes between herders and farmers are also prevalent in the state, while Osun State faces heightened risk of gunmen attack and cult and gang activities have a free reign.
It said that Plateau State carried a high kidnap risk, especially along expressways with reduced government security forces visibility as well as record of farmer-herdsmen conflict.
Gunmen attacks are a threat for business travellers in Rivers State, according to the report, as cult and gang activities are another major threat for business travellers within the state.
Taraba State faces attacks by rogue herdsmen in Wukari and Karim Lamido , especially, the PR24 report said.
“Takum and Jalingo LGAs also carry increased threat ratings at this time, due to reported incidents of bandit attacks on the citizenry and security forces posted in the area,” the advisory added.
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja