Kidnap a major risk for expats in Nigeria

Kidnap is a major threat to foreigners working in Nigeria.

About a quarter of all kidnappings around the world occurred in Africa’s most populous and richest country during 2015.

Security experts say foreign workers, like the three Australians, New Zealander and South African abducted in the country’s southeast on Wednesday, face plenty of other risks in the form of guerilla groups, organised crime gangs, civil unrest, and drug and weapon smugglers.

 The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website urges against visiting areas including Cross River state where the foreign mine workers were abducted along with two Nigerians.

“Kidnappings in the south are typically financially motivated, with the victims being held by criminal gangs for ransom,” DFAT says.

In Nigeria’s north kidnappings are usually terrorist-related, like the infamous abduction of 276 Chibok school girls by Boko Haram in 2014.

Security expert Justin Bowden, whose firm Beltin Group advises firms operating in risky areas, says some Australian companies don’t grasp the potential dangers involved with operations in countries like Nigeria.