Amidst the lingering naira crisis across the country, the United Kingdom has warned its citizens in Nigeria to be careful at banks and Automated Teller Machines points.
Some stakeholders had lauded the Federal Government over the redesigning of naira notes by the Central Bank of Nigeria, stating that it would help mitigate against vote buying in the coming elections.
However, Nigerians across the country have been struggling with the scarcity of new naira notes which have led to long queues at banking halls and automated teller machines.
The development has also led to protests in some parts of the country.
In its updated ‘information on restrictions on movement during the election period’ on Monday, the UK advised its citizens in Nigeria to be careful when withdrawing money in crowded places.
It read in part “The Central Bank of Nigeria has directed the redesign and issue of new N200, N500 and N1’000 Naira notes. This has led to shortages of cash, which are likely to persist for a period. You are encouraged to check notes provided by currency exchange vendors will be valid for the duration of your travel to Nigeria, and to follow local CBN guidelines.
“Areas such as banks and ATMs have seen a spike in criminal activity, and as such, it is advised that you take extra precautions particularly when withdrawing cash in crowded spaces, and during night time hours. There have been outbreaks of violence in South West Nigeria as a result of cash shortages, and there is a risk of other urban areas being impacted across the country. We advise travellers in Nigeria to exercise their judgement, including being aware of any large crowds or potential disturbances.”
Giving warning on terrorism, the UK advisory read “Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Nigeria. Most attacks occur in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States in the North East. There have also been significant attacks in other states, including in Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Bauchi, Taraba, Kogi, Niger, and the Federal Capital Territory. Further attacks are likely and could occur at any time. Attacks could be indiscriminate and could affect western interests as well as places visited by tourists. Attacks are more likely to attack crowded locations or symbolic targets, such as places of worship. There is a heightened risk during religious events, public holidays or election periods.
“There is a high threat of criminal and terrorist kidnappings throughout Nigeria. Incidents of banditry and inter-communal violence occur frequently throughout Nigeria. Attacks can occur without warning.”
It also warned that political rallies, protests and violent demonstrations can occur with little notice throughout the country, adding that “international news events can sometimes trigger anti-Western demonstrations. There is the potential for increased tension on Friday.”
It advised its citizens to be vigilant in the midst of it all.
“Throughout Nigeria, there are high levels of violent street crime including muggings, car-jackings, and armed robbery in Nigeria. You should be vigilant at all times,” it says.