- We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Nigeria due to the high threat of terrorist attack, the high threat of kidnapping, the unpredictable security situation, the possibility of violent civil unrest and the high level of violent crime.
- If you do decide to travel to Nigeria, you should exercise extreme caution. The security situation could deteriorate without warning and you could be caught up in violence directed at others.
- Militant groups have threatened to carry out attacks against government facilities and personnel, hotels, educational facilities (including international schools), places of worship, media offices, markets and mass transit facilities.
- A number of bombings occurred in different parts of Nigeria, including in Abuja, in 2014. The terrorist group Boko Haram is considered responsible for a bombing attack on an oil depot in Lagos in June 2014.
- You should be aware that terrorists may launch attacks during religious festivals and holidays, significant dates and anniversaries. Places of worship have been targeted during the Christmas and Easter periods in recent years.
- We strongly advise you not to travel to Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau and Yobe states because of the ongoing very high threat of terrorist attack, very high threat of kidnapping, the volatile security situation and frequent violent attacks on public places. If you are in these states you should leave immediately.
- We strongly advise you not to travel to the riverine areas (river or swamp areas on or close to the coast) of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta and Rivers states in south-eastern Nigeria because of the very high risk of kidnapping, robbery and other armed attacks especially against foreign oil facilities and personnel.
- If, despite our advice, you decide to travel to these regions, you should ensure you have appropriate close personal protection from a professional security service. The ability of the Australian Government to provide consular services to Australians in these areas may be severely limited.
- We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in the states of Anambra, Cross Rivers, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo.
- Given the unpredictable security situation in Nigeria, we strongly recommend that you register your travel and contact details with us, so we can contact you in an emergency.
- See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
Entry and exit
As visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice, you should contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Nigeria or visit the Nigeria Immigration Service website.
HIV/AIDS related entry restrictions may apply to visitors and foreign residents of Nigeria. Nigerian authorities may deny entry to foreigners with HIV/AIDS and may require HIV tests for foreigners intending to marry Nigerian citizens.
In addition to general press accreditation and visas, special accreditation may be required from the Nigerian Ministry of Information for journalists and film makers working in parts of the Niger Delta or conflict zones in the north of the country. If journalists or film makers intend to visit these areas they should first check with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Nigeria.
The Nigerian immigration authorities have introduced registration requirements for all resident expatriates who are not nationals of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Nigeria for details.
Nigeria is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a serious and potentially fatal disease preventable by vaccination. We strongly recommend that all travellers be vaccinated for yellow fever before travelling to Nigeria. See Health.
As the quarantine requirements for yellow fever vaccination differ between countries, we recommend that you check the yellow fever entry requirements for Nigeria and all countries you intend to enter or transit by contacting their foreign missions in Australia. Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate before being allowed to board flights out of the country. For more information about yellow fever, including Australian re-entry requirements, see the Department of Health website.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia.
Safety and security
There is a high threat of terrorist attack, kidnapping, violent civil unrest and crime across much of Nigeria. If you do decide to travel to Nigeria, you should exercise extreme caution. The security situation could deteriorate without warning and you could be caught up in violence directed at others.
In recent years Nigeria-based militant groups, Boko Haram and Ansaru, have carried out large scale, coordinated attacks against a range of targets in Nigeria. Attacks, which can include the use of both explosive devices and gun fire, have been most frequent in the north eastern states to which we advise against all travel.
However, terrorist attacks can occur anywhere in Nigeria. Locations frequented by foreigners have been attacked in the past and may be targeted in the future, including in Abuja. Attacks may be indiscriminate and target public places where large crowds tend to gather.
Australians in Nigeria should exercise heightened vigilance and personal security awareness near Nigerian government and security institutions, international organisations, police stations, diplomatic premises, financial institutions, oil facilities and infrastructure as well as public areas including markets, hotels, licensed premises, restaurants, shopping centres, places of worship, cinemas, educational institutions (including schools, colleges and universities), airports and transport infrastructure, outdoor recreation events, tourist areas and densely populated urban areas.
Security has been tightened at many buildings across Nigeria. A heavy security presence often indicates a location of particularly high risk, but less security does not necessarily mean a lower risk.
You should be aware that terrorists may launch attacks during religious festivals and holidays, significant dates and anniversaries, especially in northern Nigeria during the Ramadan, Christmas and Easter periods.
Extremists have targeted venues broadcasting international sporting events in the past and may do so again.
Recent attacks occurring outside those areas to which we advise against all travel include:
- On 25 June 2014, a large explosion close to Emab Plaza in the Wuse 2 area of Abuja caused more than 20 deaths and a large number of injuries.
- On 25 June 2014, an explosion at a fuel depot in Lagos killed two people.
- On 14 April 2014, a bomb attack at a bus station in the Nyanya suburb of Abuja reportedly killed 71 people and injured dozens more. A further bombing in the same location on 1 May 2014 killed 19 people and injured many.
You should avoid the affected area in the aftermath of an attack. Secondary attacks have been known to occur in the past targeting those attending to the victims of a primary attack.
Curfews can be imposed, amended and lifted at short notice. You should obey all curfews and monitor the local media for the latest information on possible restrictions on movement and the overall security environment.
Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau and Yobe states: We strongly advise you not to travel to the states of Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Yobe and Adamawa where Boko Haram is most active. Attacks by Boko Haram aimed at taking territorial control of large parts of north eastern Nigeria have resulted in thousands of deaths, hundreds of kidnappings and the displacement of over a million people in recent years. Military operations continue in parts of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, where areas remain under Boko Haram control.
Markets, schools, colleges, universities and places of worship have frequently been targeted across this region.
Riverine areas of Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states: We advise you not to travel to the riverine areas (i.e. the river and swamp areas on or close to the coast accessible by boat, but not by road) of Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states in south-eastern Nigeria because of the very high risk of kidnapping, robbery and other armed attacks, especially against foreign oil facilities and personnel. If you are in these areas, you should consider leaving.
Elements formerly associated with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) remain active in the Niger Delta region and continue to issue threats against oil industry infrastructure and personnel, despite agreed ceasefires and amnesty programs.
The ability of the Australian Government to provide consular services to Australians in these areas may be severely limited.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin.
Australians in Nigeria should be aware that there is a high threat of kidnapping across the country. Kidnappings involving Westerners have occurred frequently in those parts of the south-eastern and northern states where we advise Australians not to travel. Westerners have also been kidnapped in other parts of Nigeria, including Abuja and Lagos.
Kidnappings in the south-east are typically financially motivated, with the victims being held by criminal groups for ransom. Kidnappings in the north are generally politically motivated and undertaken by terrorist groups. In the past victims of kidnapping have been executed. A number of expatriates were kidnapped in Kogi state in the first half of 2015. Several foreigners were reported kidnapped across Nigeria in 2014. In March 2013, an expatriate was kidnapped by a criminal network from the suburb of Victoria Island in Lagos. In March 2014 an armed group stopped a car in the Abuja suburb of Waru, in an apparent attempt to kidnap an expatriate worker.
Expatriate oil workers and foreign businessmen have been kidnapped from the Niger Delta region, including from land-based and offshore oil facilities, ships, roads and housing compounds.
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it does not make payments or concessions to kidnappers. The Australian Government considers that paying a ransom increases the risk of further kidnappings, including of other Australians. If you do decide to travel to an area where there is a particular threat of kidnapping, you should seek professional security advice and have effective personal security measures in place. See our Kidnapping threat bulletin.
Civil unrest/political tension
Ongoing risk of political and inter-communal violence across Nigeria: There is an ongoing risk of serious inter-communal violence and unrest throughout the country, particularly in the central and northern regions of Nigeria. This includes the states of Taraba, Plateau, Nassarawa, Adamawa and Benue in the central region and Bauchi, Borno, Katsina, Sokoto and Kano states and the cities of Kaduna, Jos, Kano, Maiduguri, Bauchi and Katsina in the north. In recent years, thousands of civilians have been killed in serious violence and unrest related to long-standing tribal, religious and community based grievances in these areas.
The killing of three young men who refused to stop at a checkpoint in Wukari, Tabara state in late 2014, sparked civil unrest which resulted in 75 deaths.
You should avoid all protests, rallies and demonstrations as they may turn violent.
Be alert to changes in the security environment and monitor the local media and other sources of information for developments that may heighten existing inter-communal tensions. While foreigners are generally not targeted, you could be caught up in violence directed at others.
There is a high level of serious crime throughout Nigeria. Kidnapping, violent assault, armed robbery, banditry, home invasion (even in walled and guarded compounds), and carjacking are prevalent across Nigeria. Expatriates are frequently targeted. You should pay strict attention to your personal safety and security at all times.
Crime increases at night in most areas, particularly in major cities and on highways. We strongly advise you not to travel after dark. The number of authorised and unauthorised checkpoints in city centres also increases at night and requests to pay on-the-spot fines are not uncommon. Police can be slow to respond to reports of criminal activity, and sometimes do not respond at all. Little or no investigative support is provided to victims.
There is a high incidence of crime in and around the international airport in Lagos, and on the main roads to and from international and domestic airports in Lagos, Abuja and other urban centres. Assaults and robberies are common on public transport and when travelling unaccompanied in taxis. Prearranged collection/drop off at airports and hotels by someone who is known to you or whose identity you can verify will help to minimise the risk. Criminals have been known to pose as police, military personnel and bogus greeters at airports.
Visitors have been abducted and robbed when collected from their hotel by criminals claiming to represent a company with which the visitor has an appointment. Ensure that you can verify and identify who you are meeting and where. Avoid meeting in places on the outskirts of urban centres. You should question any last minute changes in arrangements and should not disclose personal information unnecessarily.
Due to the relatively high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, victims of violent crime, especially rape, are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical assistance.
Anambra, Cross Rivers (non-riverine areas), Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states: The security situation in these states is relatively stable and facilities well developed compared to other parts of the country. However, there remain high levels of criminality, including petty crime, assaults and armed attack. Unnecessary travel after dark should be avoided. You should exercise a high degree of caution in these states.
Commercial and internet fraud: Commercial and internet fraud is prevalent and often originates in Nigeria. Victims have been defrauded and those who travel to the originating country have had their lives endangered, some have been killed. If you are victim of a Nigerian financial scam, we advise you to obtain legal advice and not to travel to Nigeria to seek restitution. You should closely scrutinise all commercial ventures and job offers that originate from Nigeria from people unknown to you and not send money until proper checks are made.
If you are travelling to Nigeria, you should inform relatives and friends that they may receive phone calls and emails from bogus hospitals or doctors in Nigeria claiming that an Australian traveller has been injured and money is required to be sent for medical treatment. Your relatives and friends in Australia should treat any requests for money with caution and ensure that the contact is genuine, including emails purportedly sent by you or by doctors claiming that money is required to be sent for your medical treatment, as these are common methods of extorting money. If they have been unsuccessful in attempts to contact you and remain concerned, they should then contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Consular Emergency Centre (see Where to Get Help for contact details). You should be careful about disclosing personal information and disposing of personal documents while in Nigeria.
An increasing number of Australian citizens have also been defrauded or had their lives endangered by bogus internet friendship, dating and marriage schemes operating out of Nigeria. Scammers will often spend months developing an online relationship before asking for money, for example, to enable travel to Australia or for medical costs. When the money is received, the relationship is usually terminated and any chance of recovering the funds is highly unlikely. In some instances, foreigners who have travelled to Nigeria to meet their friend or prospective marriage partner have been kidnapped and held to ransom, assaulted and robbed.
See our international scams page for further information.
Money and valuables
Nigeria is predominantly a cash economy. The local currency is the Naira. While the use of debit and credit cards is increasing in larger cities, they are rarely accepted elsewhere and there is a high risk of fraud associated with their use. Travellers should exercise caution when visiting banks or using ATMs. You should carefully consider when and where to use your cards or access internet banking. Facilities for changing travellers' cheques and Australian dollars are limited. US dollars are widely accepted at major hotels, banks and foreign exchange.
Due to the necessity of carrying sufficient cash to cover in-country expenses, foreigners are often targeted by criminals.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
Heightened security arrangements, including authorised and unauthorised police and military roadblocks, vehicle checkpoints, traffic diversions and parking restrictions, are in place throughout Nigeria, particularly in major cities and after dark. You should expect delays as a result of security checks. You may be expected to show identity documents, car registration and ownership papers or to pay an on-the-spot fine. International Driving Permits are not recognised in Nigeria.
Driving in Nigeria can be dangerous, especially at night, due to poorly maintained roads and vehicles, poor local driving habits, unpredictable pedestrians and inadequate road lighting. You should avoid unnecessary travel after dark. Roadside assistance is poor to non-existent. Nearby crowds have been known to react strongly to people believed to have been at fault in road accidents.
Be vigilant in traffic jams and at traffic lights. Keep car windows up, doors locked and ensure any valuables are kept out of sight.
Nigeria’s borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger can be closed at short notice.
Fuel shortages are common and motorists should ensure they have adequate fuel for their journey, particularly in the northern regions. Long lines at service stations often disrupt and block traffic in urban centres. You should travel with multiple forms of communication and ensure others are aware of your travel plans.
For further advice, see our road travel page.
Public transport is often unsafe due to poor vehicle maintenance, high speed driving and overcrowding. Regular and motorcycle taxis are common, however, they can pose a serious danger to passengers, other road users and pedestrians. Major hotels offer more reliable car and driver hire services.
Piracy and armed robbery of ships at anchor occurs in the coastal areas of the Niger Delta near Lagos and in the Gulf of Guinea. The Nigerian Navy has limited capacity to respond to criminal acts at sea. See our travel bulletin on piracy for more information. The International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports on its web site.
Airline and air charter safety and maintenance standards vary throughout the world. It is not known whether maintenance procedures and safety standards on aircraft used on internal flights are always properly observed or whether passengers are covered by airline insurance.
Following a number of crashes over the last several years, there are also concerns about the safety and reliability of some airline companies operating domestic flights within Nigeria.
On 3 June 2012, a Dana Air flight from Abuja to Lagos crashed in the outskirts of Lagos killing all 153 people on board.
Domestic flights are often delayed or cancelled at short notice. During Harmattan, when dust storms are common, flights can be rerouted due to poor visibility.
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Nigeria.
Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.
You are subject to the local laws Nigeria, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you’re arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and may include lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines. See our Drugs page.
The death penalty may be imposed for other serious crimes such as murder and armed robbery.
Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria. It is an offence to enter into a same-sex marriage or civil union and penalties include imprisonment of up to 14 years. It is also an offence to register, operate or participate in gay clubs, societies or organisations, or make any public show of a same-sex relationship. Penalties for these offences include imprisonment for up to 10 years. Cross-dressing is also prohibited. Twelve northern Nigerian states have adopted Islamic Sharia laws, criminalising sexual activities between persons of the same sex. Adults convicted of engaging in homosexual activity in these states may be subject to the death penalty. See our LGBTI travellers page.
Taking photographs or videotaping in the vicinity of government buildings, military installations, diplomatic premises, airports and bridges is illegal and can lead to confiscation of the camera and/or a fine or detention.
Smoking is banned in public places.
Offences such as stealing and adultery may attract strict penalties in the northern states that impose Sharia Law.
It is illegal to export African art, particularly antiques, from Nigeria without written authorisation from the Department of Antiquities.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
Nigeria has the largest Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa. Travellers should behave and dress conservatively outside large urban areas, especially in the central and northern regions.
Islamic Sharia Law has been introduced in some states in the north and is being increasingly enforced.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to begin in early June 2016. During Ramadan, Australians travelling to Nigeria should take care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. In particular, people who are not fasting are advised to avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting. For more information, see our Ramadan bulletin.
Information for dual nationals
Australian-Nigerian dual nationals between the ages of 18 and 30 may be required to undertake the National Youth Service Corps program. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Nigeria for further information.
See also our Dual nationals page.
It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
Medical facilities are limited in Nigeria. The standard of heath care can vary in major centres, but is very basic in rural areas. Pharmaceuticals are often in short supply and poor quality substitutes or counterfeit drugs are often used. Upfront payment for services is usually required and the inability to pay will often delay treatment. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation may be necessary, and costs would be considerable.
Services and accessibility for people with disabilities are not up to the standards you would expect in Australia.
The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Nigeria is relatively high. You should exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
Nigeria is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, which is preventable by vaccination. We strongly recommend that you are vaccinated against yellow fever before travelling to Nigeria. See the Entry and Exit section for important information about vaccination certificate requirements. For more information about yellow fever, see the Department of Health website.
Malaria and other tropical diseases are common in West African countries, including Nigeria. We encourage you to consider taking prophylaxis against malaria, using insect repellent, wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.
Poliovirus (Poliomyelitis) remains endemic in Nigeria with travellers at risk of infection. In May 2014 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the recent international spread of wild poliovirus a “public health emergency of international concern” and has issued temporary recommendations that may affect your travel to Nigeria.
It is recommended that Australians travelling to Nigeria and staying for periods greater than four weeks, are up to date with routinely recommended vaccinations against polio, including a booster dose, as per the Australian Immunisation Handbook, prior to departure.
If you do not have documented evidence of polio vaccination within the last 12 months, you may be encouraged to be vaccinated prior to departure from Nigeria.
Please see your doctor to discuss your vaccination requirements. Further information is available from the Australian Government Department of Health polio website.
Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, bilharzia, tuberculosis, lassa fever, rabies, measles and meningitis) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes, wild animals (including stray dogs) and raw and undercooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
The outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in west Africa is the most serious in recorded history. There was a limited outbreak of EVD in Nigeria in July and August 2014. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the outbreak of EVD in Nigeria ended in October 2014 (WHO Disease Outbreak News). As a measure to control the disease, Nigeria introduced health screening measures for passengers arriving and departing at all airports in Nigeria, some of these remain in place. For more information, see the Ebola outbreak in west Africa travel bulletin.
Where to get help
Depending on your enquiry, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour provider, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24 hour emergency number.
If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the Nigerian police service. The national emergency number in Nigeria is 199.
To complain about tourism services, contact the service provider directly.
To contact the Australian Government for consular assistance in accordance with the Consular Services Charter, which outlines what we can and cannot help you with, see contact details below:
Australian High Commission, Abuja
48 Aguiyi Ironsi Street
Maitama Abuja NIGERIA
Telephone: (234 9) 461 2780
Office mobile: (234) (0) 803 307 3519
Facsimile: (234 9) 461 2782
See the High Commission website for information about opening hours.
The Australian Honorary Consulate in Lagos provides limited consular assistance (not including the issuing of passports):
Australian Honorary Consulate, Lagos
8th Floor Union Marble House
1 Alfred Rewane Road (formerly Kingsway), Falomo
Ikoyi Lagos, NIGERIA
Telelphone: (234 1) 8179492
Facsimile: (234 1) 8935409
Mobile: +234 803 300 7291
If you are travelling to Nigeria, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the High Commission you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
The rainy season extends from May to October when localised flooding may occur and some roads may become impassable.
The dry season extends from November to April. During this period, central and northern Nigeria may be affected by Harmattan, a seasonal wind which blows a high amount of sand and dust in the air. Visibility may be severely limited.
There are strong ocean currents along the coast of Nigeria. Conditions can change quickly and several drownings occur each year.
If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities. Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service.
For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following links: