The United Kingdom Government has dropped an important message to its citizens in Nigeria over the naira scarcity and the attendant violence occasioned by it.
The government, through its Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, in a safety advisory, said around 117,000 British tourists visited Nigeria every year.
It said most visits were trouble-free, but that a small number of British people encountered problems, urging them to take sensible precautions to protect their safety.
The UK government stated that nationwide elections would take place in Nigeria on 25 February and 11 March 2023, saying that movement restrictions might be enforced during this period, especially on election days, and that there is a heightened risk of protests and violence.
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The government added that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed the redesign and issue of new N200, N500 and N1’000 Naira notes, which it said had led to shortages of cash.
“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 nighttime hours,” the statement said.
The statement noted that there had been outbreaks of violence in South West Nigeria as a result of cash shortages, and that there is a risk of other urban areas being impacted across the country.
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The UK urged its citizens travelling in Nigeria to exercise their judgement, including being aware of any large crowds or potential disturbances.