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Nigeria

If you’re travelling to Nigeria, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information. 

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Health
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

For the latest update please read the General COVID-19 Travel Advisory >

Overview

Security status

Avoid non-essential travel. 

Security Status Last Updated: 16 March 2020

Latest Travel Alert

We advise against all travel to the following areas;

  • Adamawa state
  • Bauchi state
  • Borno state
  • Gombe state
  • Yobe state
  • The coastal and river areas of the Niger Delta states (Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Cross River and Rivers states).
  • Katsina State
  • Zamfara State

We advise against all but essential travel to the following areas:

  • Abia State
  • Akwa Ibom State
  • Bayelsa State
  • Delta State
  • Kaduna
  • Kano
  • Kebbi State
  • Kogi State
  • Jigawa State
  • Jos city, Riyom and Barkin Ladi in Plateau State
  • Rivers State
  • Sokoto State

Covid-19 is still a threat, but with continued public health measures, vaccination and testing, it will be possible to travel internationally. You will need to plan your travel carefully and there are risks.

Department of Foreign Affairs services and practical supports to all Irish Citizens travelling abroad can be found on dfa.ie/Travel

Nigeria continues to see positive cases of COVID-19. Public health measures, such as protocols for international arrivals, the use of facemasks, and social distancing in public settings, remain in place. Due to the low amount of testing, the true extent of COVID-19 infections in Nigeria is unclear; travellers should take precautions, even if official positive case figures are low. A national vaccination program commenced in February 2021.

COVID-19 Protocols for Entering Nigeria

Travellers to Nigeria must use an online Nigeria International Travel Portal.  Travellers must complete an online declaration form and upload a copy of a negative PCR COVID-19 test, taken not more than 72 hours prior to their departure, via the online portal. Once you have done this, you will be issued with a “permit to travel” via the portal.

From 25 October 2021 the following travel protocols will come into effect:

  • Travellers arriving in Nigeria must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result conducted no more than 72 hours before boarding
  • Fully vaccinated in-bound passengers will not be required to observe the mandatory 7-days self-isolation but will be required to do a COVID-19 PCR test on day 2 after arrival.
  • Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated in-bound passengers will be required to observe a mandatory 7-day self-isolation and a COVID-19 PCR test on day 2 and day 7 after arrival

Information on COVID-19 travel protocols for Nigeria, and access to the online portal, can be found on the COVID-19 microsite of the Nigerian Centre of Disease Control: https://covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/ . If you are unsure if you have followed the protocols correctly, we advise contact your airline before travelling.

Info on COVID-19 in Nigeria

More information on COVID-19 related issues in Nigeria can be found on the below websites:

Nigerian Centre for Disease Control –https://ncdc.gov.ng/ twitter: https://twitter.com/NCDCgov?s=20  

Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health website: https://www.health.gov.ng/

General COVID-19 Advice

Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

World Health Organisation

General Travel Advice

The security situation remains uncertain in many parts of Nigeria and there is a high threat from domestic terrorism. Be aware that there is an ongoing threat from the Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgency, which has caused substantial loss of life over the last decade.

Rallies, protests, demonstrations, and riots are common and may occur at any time. The security forces may use tear gas and/or live ammunition for crowd control. Keep up to date with local and international events and avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings. If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately and monitor local media for up-to-date information.

There is a high risk of kidnapping throughout Nigeria. We advise to take security precautions along the lines mentioned further below. In addition, when arranging appointments in Nigeria, ensure that the attendees are known to you and that the meeting is held in a secure location. Many kidnappings in Nigeria are commercial in nature, are often opportunistic, and can happen in any part of the country. There have been recent terrorist kidnappings, and while these have occurred mainly in northern Nigeria, they could also occur elsewhere. There are reports that Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorist organisations continue to actively plan to kidnap foreigners.

The Middle Belt states often experience outbreaks of localised violence, linked to civil unrest, land disputes and elections and such outbreaks can occur at short notice. Such occurrences can often be quickly followed by localised curfews imposed by the authorities. You are advised to avoid large crowds, political rallies, demonstrations and any large public protests or gatherings.

In the event that you encounter difficulties in the areas where the Department advises against all or all but essential travel to, the assistance that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or our Embassy in Abuja may be able to provide, is likely to be extremely limited. Before considering travel to these areas, we advise you to take professional security advice

For all other areas, we advise you to take additional security precautions. These might include: having the name and phone number of the driver collecting you at the airport;

       • being wary of any last-minute driver changes;
       • planning in advance how you are getting to and back from each meeting;
       • considering a security escort if travelling in rural areas or at night-time;
       • varying your routines;
       • keeping others informed of your travel plans;
       • following the security advice of your employer;
       • staying only in secure accommodation;
       • reviewing your security measures regularly.

Travellers to Nigeria should bear these factors in mind and pay careful attention to local news prior to and during travel to/in Nigeria.

You can contact the emergency services in Nigeria by dialling 199.

 

Travel to Ireland

Up to date information on travelling to Ireland can be found on gov.ie 

Information on Travel within Europe (EU/EEA) can also be found on Re-open EU.

 

Safety and Security

Safety and security

The risk of domestic terrorism, including suicide bomb attacks, is high. A number of groups operate in Nigeria, including the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram. These groups have been responsible for a high number of attacks, including suicide bomb attacks at markets, motor parks (public transport depots), schools and religious institutions. These occurred mainly in north-eastern Nigeria but there were several high profile attacks in Abuja between 2011 and 2015.

Attacks can be indiscriminate and could strike a variety of targets including; government, security, and educational institutions; international organisations; and public venues and areas, such as restaurants, bars, markets, hotels, shopping centres, places of worship and other areas frequented by expatriates, foreign tourists and business travellers. Travellers to Nigeria should take precautions, pay careful attention to local news and be prepared to change their travel plans at short notice.

Due to the threat of domestic terrorism, under no circumstances should you travel to the north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, and their neighbouring states of Bauchi and Gombe.  There is an on-going insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria which has the potential to spill-over into surrounding states. Moreover, borders between Nigeria and Cameroon, Chad and Niger are extremely porous, which facilitates the movement of criminal gangs, drug traffickers and radical groups.

If you have essential business in the northern or Middle Belt states of Nigeria we advise you to contact the Embassy of Ireland in Abuja well in advance of your trip

Crime

Violent crime, including muggings, kidnappings, car-jackings and armed robberies are prevalent throughout Nigeria and Irish citizens travelling in Nigeria are strongly advised to take precautions, including refraining from conspicuous displays of wealth. You should also take care after dark within cities, avoiding secondary roads and areas where other traffic is light. Travel at night in the outskirts of cities and towns should also be avoided. You are advised to be particularly vigilant when sitting in traffic jams or at traffic lights at night. Keep your car windows and doors locked and valuables out of sight.

Kidnapping

There is a significant risk to western travellers in Nigeria from kidnappers, particularly to those working in the oil and gas sectors. Kidnapping in Nigeria is carried out both by criminal gangs for financial reasons and also by terrorist groups..We currently advise against all travel to the coastal and river areas of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers states. We advise against all travel to the riverine and coastal areas of Cross River state, apart from the state capital, Calabar.

Western travellers in Nigeria are advised to take particular precautions to avoid kidnapping including:

  • Avoid travelling at night, particularly inter-city
  • Avoid travelling alone
  • When driving, ensure all car doors are locked
  • Vary routes and departure times – avoid patterns which could be tracked
  • Pay careful attention to local media for reports of kidnapping activities
  • Have the name and phone number of the person collecting you from the Airport

Fraud

Irish nationals should be aware of the risks presented by social media, email and text message scammers. A range of scams are used to encourage victims to part with money which usually involve building trust with victims over a period of time before announcing an emergency which requires funds urgently. There are many different scams and they almost always involve a relationship formed across social media. In some cases, Irish citizens have been told that funds are urgently needed, such as a child requiring emergency hospital treatment or the online girlfriend or boyfriend needs funds to pay their university fees or a friend in Nigeria has been arrested and money must be urgently transferred to the police. Be very wary of online relationships including those formed via Christian dating websites. Do not transfer funds or give personal information to anyone that you have only ever met online. Further useful information on Advance Fee Fraud in West Africa is available from the website of the Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. For security as well as commercial reasons, business people travelling to Nigeria to be hosted by a new local partner should check the background of the partner before finalising their arrangements.

Maritime Security

There have been armed robberies and kidnapping attacks against ships that anchor in Nigerian waters, as well as in rivers and ports in the Niger Delta. We advise mariners and sailors to take appropriate caution whilst in these areas and to ensure that their employer has a contingency plan for such an occurrence.

Local Travel

The majority of roads in Nigeria are in poor condition with many unpaved, unmarked and without street lighting. Inter-city roads in particular tend to be poorly maintained. Local drivers can behave more erratically than in Ireland and accordingly a high degree of caution when travelling by road in Nigeria is advised.

There are high numbers of authorised and unauthorised vehicle checkpoints throughout Nigeria. Some are for security checks, others to extort small payments of money. You should slow down at any type of checkpoint and use common sense at all times. The number of these checkpoints increases at night.

Public transport is dangerous and we advise against its use. Taxis and long distance buses are poorly maintained and travellers who use them expose themselves to the risk of theft or attack from drivers and other passengers. Travellers should in particular ensure that they have pre-arranged travel from their destination airport before travelling to Nigeria and should avoid using public transport from an airport. Make sure that you have the name and phone number of the person collecting you from the Airport.

Swimming

Ocean currents are very strong along the coast, and many swimming accidents are caused by rip tides.

Air Travel

Travellers should note that there are concerns about the safety and reliability of some airline companies operating domestic flights within Nigeria. Irish citizens should carefully evaluate the implications for their security and safety before deciding to undertake domestic air travel. Also, domestic flights are frequently cancelled at short notice and travellers should consider direct international flights in to Nigeria rather than transiting domestically. There are often lengthy flight delays, particularly flights later in the day.

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Nigeria is a federal republic divided into 36 states and a Federal Capital Territory. The Federal Government exercises jurisdiction throughout the country on certain issues while State Governments exercises jurisdiction on other issues. The Nigerian Police Force is a federal, national police force. In recent years, some southern states have set up official law enforcement bodies but they are not officially recognised by the Federal Government.

Conditions in Nigerian prisons and detention facilities fall below the standards that would be observed in Ireland and can be extremely unpleasant.

The public display of a same sex relationship is illegal under federal law. Prosecutions can result in custodial sentences of up to 14 years imprisonment. 

Drug related offences in Nigeria can attract heavy prison sentences.

Taking photographs of government buildings is illegal and can lead to detention.

It is illegal to export African artefacts and antiques from Nigeria without written authorisation from the Department of Antiquities.

Nigeria formally retains the death penalty for a number of offences.

Sharia Law

A number of northern Nigerian states which are predominantly Muslim have adopted Sharia Law. These are: Zamfara, Sokoto, Kano, Niger, Katsina, Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kebbi and Yobe. Sharia Law is an Islamic body of law and moral code. Penalties for Muslims convicted under Sharia Law in northern Nigeria can be very severe, particularly for offences such as theft and adultery. Where travellers have essential business in these states, they should dress conservatively and women are advised to cover their legs, head and arms. Nigeria is a deeply religious society and travellers to all parts of Nigeria should respect local religious traditions and avoid offending local sensitivities.

Health

Health

 

The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Nigeria. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. Travellers should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.

In most parts of Nigeria, medical facilities are very basic and even in major population centres the level of available medical care is quite limited, and payment must usually be made up-front. Accordingly, medical evacuation to Europe or South Africa is frequently required for anything more than a minor accident or illness.

We advise travellers to Nigeria to consult a GP and take medical advice before travelling. Medical practitioners advise travellers to receive a large number of vaccinations which would not normally be required in Ireland. A Yellow Fever vaccination and a valid WHO approved Yellow Vaccination Book are required for entry to Nigeria – travellers who are unable to provide evidence of Yellow Fever vaccination are liable to deportation by the Nigerian Immigration Service.

Malaria

Malaria is a major public health problem in Nigeria, and can be fatal without medical attention. You should consult your GP about malaria prophylaxis prior to travel. The use of anti-insect spray/cream and/or insecticide treated mosquito nets can also reduce the risk of contracting malaria.

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS is prevalent and travellers should exercise appropriate precautions.

Polio

Polio is no longer endemic in Nigeria, but is not yet considered eradicated. There are regular outbreaks of cholera, measles, lassa fever, and meningitis throughout the country.

Nigeria experiences heavy rainfall during the rainy season (June - September), during which time there is an increased risk of water-borne diseases like cholera, and flash flooding can occur. You are advised to maintain a supply of clean bottled water at all times and to avoid purchasing sachets of water on the street.

Zika


There is currently no known outbreak of Zika Virus (a dengue-like mosquito-borne disease) in Nigeria. However, there have been cases in the recent past and it is present in the wider region. For this reason Irish Citizens, especially those with a weakened immune system or women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, are advised to follow guidance available on the website of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).

Additional Information

Additional information

Irish nationals require a visa to travel to Nigeria. The Department of Foreign Affairs cannot advise Irish nationals on the entry requirements for Nigeria – prospective travellers to Nigeria are advised to contact their nearest Nigerian Embassy/Consulate/High Commission.

Currency

Nigeria is a largely cash based economy. There is limited acceptance of credit cards and debit cards in major cities and rare acceptance in the rest of the country. The security of ATMs in Nigeria cannot be guaranteed.

You will be unable to obtain the local currency (Nigerian naira) until you have arrived in Nigeria. The largest denomination is the 1,000 naira note (about €2.50). Notes have been widely circulated and are often in very poor condition. You are advised to make regular use of hand sanitisers when handling cash to avoid illness.

Travellers should bring sufficient cash to cover expenses while in Nigeria. There are restrictions on the quantity of cash that can be brought into the country, and travellers should verify the latest requirements with their local Nigerian Embassy/Consulate/High Commission before travelling. Your airline will normally give you a customs declaration form and an immigration arrival form before you land. US dollars are the most widely accepted foreign currency but Euros can also be exchanged locally.

 Natural disasters and climate

Nigeria's climate is tropical, varying from the humid beaches in the south to the hot desert in the north. Temperatures can vary from 21°C to 44°C. Elevated areas of the country such as the Jos plateau are cooler and wetter. Given the high temperatures, travellers in Nigeria frequently become dehydrated and we advise that travellers maintain a supply of drinking water.

 

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

Irish citizens who require urgent assistance while the Embassy is closed can contact the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs on +353 1 408 2000. The Duty Officer will refer the matter to the Embassy.

Embassy of Ireland
11 Negro Crescent
Maitama District
Abuja
Nigeria

Tel: +234 9 4621080
Fax: +234 9 4131805

Monday to Thursday 09:00-16:00; Friday 09:00-12:00

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. Cornelius Guilfoyle
Honorary Consul of Ireland
22A Lugard Avenue
Ikoyi
Lagos
Nigeria

Tel: +234 7062107778/+234 7053800255

Email: Email us