Holiday Celebration in Nigeria: 10 Places To Avoid

With the current events playing out around the world, a lot of cities and countries have been tagged “travel risk area” as a result of war, crime or insecurity issues. It’s even worse in most third world or developing countries, and the “giant of Africa” happens to be one of such nations.

The Global Peace Index (GPI) 2022 report ranks Nigeria as the 21st most dangerous country in the world after Colombia, and number 8 in Africa after Burkina Faso. Truth be told, it’s quite overwhelming grappling with such information about the acclaimed “giant of Africa”. But it’s also important to note that so many factors are responsible for the rankings.

With that in mind, let’s get into the business of this article which is not to demean Nigeria as a Nation, but to point out 10 places you should avoid visiting, especially as a foreigner considering a vacation.

10 Places to Avoid Vacationing in Nigeria

These states or cities have been mentioned in no particular order and have been picked based on level of insecurity, riot, thuggery and other criminal vices. So, here we go:

1. Anambra

This state, like some other eastern states, has experienced a series of security challenges. Ranging from protest, to riots, to the Monday “sit-at-home” demonstrations by a group known as IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra). There have been several records of robbery attacks, targeted killings, maiming, kidnappings, and gruesome killings of security personnels.

The once peaceful state also known as “Light of the nation”, has experienced darkness in several cities as a result of criminal activities carried out by “unknown gunmen”. Even the current Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, agrees that insecurity remains the major challenge in the state.

Major cities affected include Awka, Onitsha, Ihiala, Ekwulobia and Nnewi.

2. Kano

The Center of Commerce has had its own fair share of security issues. The emergence of Boko Haram in the Northeastern part of Nigeria, found its way to Kano state in the Northwest. A lot of havoc has been wrecked by the terrorist group, which has left many indigenes and residents homeless.

Suicide bombings in targeted places like Church, Mosque, Schools and market have been a major concern in the state. Other events like religious and intergroup conflicts, petty crimes, and thuggery have contributed to the rising insecurity in the state.

The main city of trade, Kano, has suffered greatly due to the incessant attacks, leaving her with less traders and businesses over the past years.

3. Zamfara

The beautiful homeland with the slogan “farming is our pride” has had the worst episodes of banditry. At some point, the telecommunication network of the state was cut off for some months by the federal government in order to curb the menace. Kidnapping, intergroup violence, and armed banditry are major security issues plaguing the state.

Farmers are no longer free to perform their duties, or stay out long on their farmlands, due to fear of being attacked or killed whilst fending for their families. This has only given rise to unemployment in the state, as most people depend on farming as their means of livelihood.

4. Plateau

The capital of Jos has a history of communal conflicts majorly between farmers and herdsmen, religious and ethnic crises, and conflicts between indigenes and settlers over control of borders and settlement. The “Home of Peace and Tourism” has definitely lost its peace, due to the challenges that have bedeviled the state.

These events often result in displacement and loss of lives. Hundreds of lives were lost and many others displaced in clashes that occurred in Wase, Bassa, and Kanam local government areas in 2022. Bandits usually storm remote villages with open arms and assume control of such places.

5. Yobe

Yobe state is located in the Northeastern part of Nigeria and has experienced several attacks by the Boko Haram sect. Kidnappings and suicide bombings are the major security challenges posing the state. With over 12000 people killed from insurgency, it is categorized as one of the most dangerous and unsafe places to travel to.

Geidam and Yunusari local government areas have been constantly terrorized by a group known as non-state armed group (NSAG). There have been several reports of missing family members after attacks carried out in Geidam and Kanamma areas, and so many displaced persons are too traumatized to return to their homes.

6. Kaduna

The Abuja-Kaduna expressway has a different tale to tell about the once peaceful state which happened to be one of the most frequented areas in Nigeria. As a result of increased banditary and kidnappings, travelers and visitors find it difficult to ply its route.

Communal and religious clashes also contribute to the recurring challenges of the state. These incidents have resulted in destruction of lives and properties, and individuals are advised against nonessential travels to this state due to security concerns.

7. Katsina

Situated in the northwestern part of the country, Katsina has experienced a high level of insecurity. The “Home of Hospitality” has been plagued with incessant abduction and banditary. Individuals are abducted and are only released based on the amount of ransom paid by their loved ones.

Residents in rural areas are faced with the menace of  being denied access to their farmlands and cattle rustling. Several attacks on the state have left several scores of people dead, and so many others displaced.

8. Imo

Banditary, ritual killings, insurgency, kidnappings and even cannibalism have been the order of the day in Imo state. Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe local government areas have been the most hit. So many Individuals have been reportedly shot or kidnapped on several occasions.

Security concerns also heighten during gubernatorial elections, keeping residents in fear of being attacked.

9. Rivers

Located in the Niger delta region of the country, the state has experienced a high level of criminal activities, ranging from armed robbery, to kidnappings, to maritime theft, and cult-related violences.  Creeks are usually used as hideouts for criminals and armed militants.

There have been several attacks on oil wells situated in the Niger Delta, foreigners as well as local workers have been kidnapped or injured during such attacks. The government strongly advises individuals to avoid unnecessary travels to areas prone to attack.

10. Borno

Borno state also known as the “home of peace” is located in the Northeastern part of Nigeria. The state has been affected by the activities of the terrorist group Boko Haram. Cases of abduction and mass killings have been on the rise, and have led to loss of lives, properties and livelihood.

Maiduguri, the state capital has suffered several attacks resulting in abject poverty, which has led many into petty crimes and violence. The popular Chibok attack that led to the abduction of over 219 school girls happened in Borno state, leaving many families devastated. Though it is claimed that most of the girls have reunited with their families.

It is said to be the most dangerous city to live or do business in as it has become the epicenter of terrorist attacks, recording an average of 200 deaths monthly.

Is Nigeria a Dead Zone?!

Before your heart begins to sink in despair considering what you just read, I would like to let you know that all hope is not lost as there are many beautiful destination areas you can still visit. It’s true that Nigeria may not match up with other glamorous cities in the world, like Paris, Cape town or Dubai. But her inherent culture and uniqueness makes her standout.

It is also important to note that Nigerians are one of the most welcoming and accommodating individuals in the world. From her people, to mouth watering cuisines, to beautiful sceneries of nature, a vacation won’t be a bad idea. There’s a whole lot of fun and adventure you can experience, if you apply extreme caution whenever you decide to visit.

Hence, Nigeria is not a “dead zone” as most people consider. Places like Obudu cattle ranch in Cross River, Lekki Conservation  Center in Lagos, Olumo Rock located in Ogun, and a list of other locations have a different story to tell.

Conclusion

Nigeria, like every other country, has challenging security issues, and you’re advised to be up to date with current trends from the correct sources. And that is one of the things this article has presented: information about places to avoid when visiting. Hence, the decision to travel at any given time is up to you.

That said, here are some tips to consider if you decide to travel down to Nigeria:

  1. Research your destinations properly as this enables you to prepare fully in terms of clothing and behavior.
  2. Keep your trusted family and friends informed from time to time about your location.
  3. Keep enough cash so you don’t get stranded.
  4. Hire the service of a local guide if you can.
  5. Avoid driving yourself in areas that are remote or prone to kidnaps and attacks.
  6. Be sure to remain vigilant and aware of your environment, by knowing when to leave whenever you notice something unusual.

Like every other country’s government, the Nigerian government is doing her best to salvage the situation and ensure peace is restored to every part of the country.

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