Nigeria Country Report
Labour unions are likely to continue making forceful demands throughout the COVID-19 crisis relating to job protection and safety of employees. When the situation eases, unions are likely to maintain pressure for swift implementation of the minimum wage, including by impoverished state bureaucracies. The anti-corruption credentials that President Buhari has repeatedly espoused are being undermined by an investigation into the acting head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which in any case has failed to make much headway in prosecuting serious offenders. Prospects of reform of the state-run oil company are also fading, assuring the ongoing ‘leakage’ of huge annual sums in opaque and poor-value deals.
Islamist militants are in the ascendant against a demoralised and poorly resourced Nigerian army. Attacks on convoys and destruction of weapons appear designed to undermine the operational capability of troops at a time when state resources are evaporating because of the COVID-19-pandemic-induced collapse in the oil price and global economic slowdown. The immediate aim is likely to assert control of parts of the northeast and establish a "caliphate". A reported rapprochement between the Islamic State-affiliated faction and that led by long-time Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is likely to increase the threat. Niger Delta militants pose little current concern as prominent leaders have likely been bought off by clandestine financial concessions.
Nigeria is a central link in African organised crime networks, with criminal groups from the country and, to a lesser extent, Ghana believed to control much of the continental cocaine and heroin trade. The country is also regarded as both a major supplier and final destination for human traffickers, while regional and domestic conflicts have led to increased flows of weapons into Nigeria. Oil theft is widespread in the Niger Delta as an adjunct to and funder of recurrent separatist militancy. Despite domestic attempts to boost anti-trafficking operations, institutional and resource weaknesses, porous borders, poor training and corruption continue to hamper attempts to fight crime.
Nigeria has improved security co-operation with neighbours Cameroon, Chad, and Niger against Islamist militants, but their support is likely to be scaled down, especially if Nigeria's unilateral closure of borders to goods lasts beyond relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions. The effective contribution from Chad, in particular, has been endangered by perceived lack of support from Nigeria. The risk of civil war is very high, because of anger of Christian communities in Middle Belt states along Nigeria's east-west sectarian fault line towards President Muhammadu Buhari's perceived failure to counteract Fulani herders’ attacks. The lack of viable long-term solutions and rising demographic pressures mean further outbreaks of massacres between farmers and herders are likely.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and over one year of age.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
The Harmattan (wind) affects the coastal states of the Gulf of Guinea, including Nigeria, every year from November to April. It carries large quantities of dust and sand, which can lead to significant disturbances in air traffic and breathing difficulties.
During the rainy season (May to October), localized flooding is also possible, which can cause traffic problems. The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) predicted that 27 out of the 36 states are likely to see flooding in 2017. The states include Abia, Kogi, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara, Gombe, Lagos, Delta, Yobe, Kano, Imo, Bayelsa, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Taraba, Adamawa, Borno, Ebonyi, Anambra, Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Cross River, Kaduna, Jigawa, and Benue.
Because of significant ocean currents on the Nigerian coast, individuals should exercise caution when swimming as cases of drowning are reported each year.
It is recommended to use air transportation when traveling around the country. For flights to major destinations within the country, Air Peace and Med View airlines are recommended. The schedule of the airline operators can be confirmed on their websites.
Except for main roads in the north and southwest (Lagos region), road infrastructure is typically poor: roads are usually poorly maintained and not well lit. Travel by car is often dangerous due to these conditions as well as the aggressive driving habits of many locals (speeding, erratic driving, aggressive passing, etc.). Driving at night should be avoided altogether due to the elevated risk of attacks. In case of an accident involving personal injury caused to locals, it is also strongly advised to go immediately to the nearest police station because of the risk of a hostile reaction. Finally, it is important to respect the many roadblocks erected by security forces, both in cities and the countryside.
Intercity travel that cannot be made by airplane should be made in convoys of several 4x4 vehicles with a sufficient supply of water, food, and fuel, and accompanied by armed guards. In some areas (Niger Delta and outside the secure areas of Abuja and Lagos in particular), an armed guards escort (MOPOL) is required. It may be advisable to inform a trusted individual about the planned route and schedule. When possible, it is recommended to vary travel routes and time in order to thwart the surveillance of potential criminals.
In cities, it is recommended to avoid using taxis due to the risk of being targeted by criminals. This recommendation also applies for moto-taxis in Lagos, which are known to be dangerous. It is advised to use taxis with drivers employed by a reputable company. Carjackings and thefts, sometimes committed by armed men, are frequent on urban and rural roads. It is recommended to keep valuables out of sight and to drive with doors locked and windows rolled up.
A rail network exists in the country but is in poor condition. However, in an effort to modernize the country, the president plans to rebuild 3505 km (2178 mi) of railway lines and on July 26, 2016, inaugurated the first high-speed train line linking Abuja to Kaduna.
The north of the country is hot and dry with a long rainy season (April to September). The south is more humid with a rainy season from March to November. Generally speaking temperatures are lower in the south but very high humidity levels can make conditions much more unpleasant there. A respite from this humidity often comes in December and January as the Harmattan, a hot and dry trade wind from the Sahara, passes through the region.
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