NIGERIA (Country risk rating: High); 18 to 20 May; Foreign nationals kidnapped in Kogi and Kebbi states

Authorities confirmed the kidnapping and release of foreign expatriates in Nigeria‘s respective Kogi and Kebbi states, according to reports released on 19 May. In the first incident, a Sri Lankan national employed by the Burni Coli Construction Company was seized near the Kogi State settlement of Yari. The victim, whose security escort was killed and driver wounded during the abduction, was seized while travelling between Okene to the neighbouring state of Ondo. In a separate incident, authorities confirmed the 15 May release of an Irish national. The victim, a Catholic priest, was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen on 12 May. There is a high threat of kidnapping across Nigeria. Although it remains unclear who was behind this latest abduction, both organised criminal syndicates and Islamist militants are known to conduct kidnappings and have an operational presence in the region. Both groups periodically abduct locals and foreign nationals for the purposes of ransom and extortion. Due to various security concerns, all non-essential travel to Nigeria is advised against. Persons in or planning to travel to the country are advised to implement comprehensive travel, residential and personal security measures and consider the use of a security escort, particularly if travelling outside of major urban centres. Clients are further advised to avoid travel after dark as far as practically possible. – by red24

NIGERIA: Abolition of Re-entry Visa

Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has abolished the requirement to obtain re-entry visas for re-entering the country by expatriates who are already resident in Nigeria.

It has not been indicated yet when the new policy becomes effective. However, once implemented, it will mean that assignees working in Nigeria would not require a re-entry visa (e.g. SJRV, MJRV, etc.) in their passport to re-enter the country each time they travel out, as long as they have a valid residence permit/green card.  

Contact Cassandra at immigration@relocationafrica.com for further support.

NIGERIA (Country risk rating: High); 17 November;

A coalition of soldiers and civilian self-protection groups reportedly recaptured at least two towns in north eastern Nigeria which had earlier been seized by the Boko Haram Islamist extremist sect. The towns of Mubi and Chibok, located in the respective insurgent-embattled states of Adamawa and Borno, were allegedly liberated on 13 and 16 November, respectively. However, unconfirmed reports indicate that Boko Haram militants may have captured the Adamawa settlements of Hong and Gombi in recent days. Boko Haram’s capture of these locales has raised concerns that the sect may be planning a large-scale offensive on Adamawa’s state capital, Yola, which is located less than 100km from the aforementioned settlements. In other developments, at least 26 people were killed and scores more wounded in two separate bombings in northern Nigeria. In the first incident, a suspected suicide bomber attacked the Nagarshiku petrol station in the Hotoro area of Kano, Kano state, killing six people and wounding five others. A suicide bomber also similarly killed at least 20 people and wounded dozens at Kasuwan Jagol market in the town of Azare, Bauchi state. Although there were no claims of responsibility, authorities have attributed the attacks to Boko Haram. Due to various security concerns, all non-essential travel to Nigeria continues to be advised against. In light of the Boko Haram insurgency, clients are further advised against all travel to the northern and central Adamawa, Borno, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau and Yobe states, which have all been significantly affected by insurgent-related violence. Persons travelling to the region despite this advisory should implement robust personal and residential security precautions at all times; these should include coordinating all movements within the presence of a security escort and ensuring that all accommodation is sought within secured compounds. – Information from Red24

Anti-homosexuality laws

News/Travel Alert – Please take note if you are considering travelling or relocating to these countries

Washington Post – 24 February 2014

In the latest setback for gay people across Africa, Ugandan President Yoweri ­Museveni signed a law Monday that imposes tough penalties for homosexual acts, a move that drew condemnation from around the world and that could jeopardize Uganda’s relationship with the Obama administration and Western donors.

Homosexuality was already ­illegal in Uganda, but the new legislation threatens to usher in an era of harsh treatment of offenders and could lead to widespread oppression of gay men and lesbians, human rights activists say. The legislation imposes a 14-year prison sentence for first-time offenders and life sentences for repeat offenders found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality.”

Over the past few years, the persecution of gays has escalated across Africa. Same-sex relationships are widely prohibited in the continent’s conservative societies, and politicians and fundamentalist preachers have increasingly targeted homosexuals. From Senegal to Zimbabwe, gays have been detained, attacked by police, tortured and even killed. They have been denied access to health care. In some nations, their graves have been desecrated. In others, gays have faced expulsion.

Uganda’s legislation comes six weeks after Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law a ban on homosexuality that imposes 14-year prison terms for anyone entering a same-sex union. It also sets 10-year prison sentences for those who run gay clubs or organizations. The legislation triggered an outbreak of anti-gay attacks in parts of Nigeria.

The Ugandan law is considered to be more repressive than Nigeria’s.