The political and economic instability of Nigeria opens the doors for a cornucopia of crime. On one end, you have the less sinister, more basic thievery and pick pocketing. On the other, you have armed robberies, muggings, abductions and car-jackings, particularly in the southern part of the country.
In terms of petty crime, thieves usually take advantage of tourists carrying the large amount of cash needed in this economy. Those who use plastic are also targets for thieves, however, as there is a high amount of credit card fraud throughout Nigeria, which is part of the reason most businesses do not take this form of payment.
Online money scams and fake Nigerian marriages are other criminal activities often directed at foreign travelers. Many of these crimes are initiated via email, and any suspicious messages should be reported to authorities. Fake ebony is also a highly pedaled souvenir item in Nigeria.
Shady characters often roam the airport looking for a gullible person to defraud or rob. Reports suggest these rogues often pose as taxi drivers.
While at the airport, beware, some customs officials might not be on the right side of the law.
Home invasions by armed robbers are a problem in certain parts of the country. This should not affect you as a traveler unless you are staying with family or friends in such a residence. If you are, be aware that criminals have been known to follow those who arrive at residences and compounds and subdue guards. These thieves are not afraid of high walls either and will scale them to get into the residence. Those who live or stay on the water in Lagos are also at the mercy of armed bandits who may try to gain access to compounds by boat.
In terms of more serious crime, Lagos is named as a high-risk, no-go area, as attacks can happen suddenly and include crimes on the street and in cars. As in many areas of the world, nighttime can pose the greatest risks to locals and tourists alike, and most attacks happen after 10 p.m. in areas like Lagos. Limit driving at night in this area, particularly in rural places, to avoid banditry and attacks.
Anambra, especially the Enugu-Awka-Onitsha expressway, Abia and Edo states are hotspots for robberies and kidnappings. During these robberies, it is best for victims to immediately give in to the criminals’ demands to avoid injury. Road travel should also be limited in these areas, especially outside cities. Anyone who needs to travel in these locations should do so in convoy during the day.
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