Is It Safe For A White Woman To Travel To Nigeria?

credit: Peter Parker

The question of whether it is safe for a white woman to travel to Nigeria is a valid question, given Nigeria’s recent events. Traveling women should always prioritize their safety because, let’s face it, it’s challenging to enjoy a country that introduces risk and danger. So, how safe is Nigeria?

Nigeria is not safe for a white woman to travel. The country is rampant with kidnappings, armed robbery, carjackings, civil unrest, and terrorism. A coup coup d’état on July 26, 2023, caused a further spike in crime. Attacks on malls, churches, schools, and governmental buildings occur daily.

Can A White Woman Be Safe In Nigeria?

The US government marks Nigeria as Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider Travel, meaning that it is highly unsafe for white women, or any travelers for that matter, to travel to Nigeria.

The travel advisory system ranks travel destinations according to the severity of their safety and security risks. It gives travelers a better idea of which countries to avoid and which are safe for travel.

It has four levels that indicate the threat level and conditions of a destination, namely:

  • Level 1 – Normal Precautions. Level 1 is what travelers should expect when traveling to any country. Avoid leaving valuables unattended, stay vigilant of your surroundings, and don’t walk alone at night.
  • Level 2 – Increased Caution. Level 2 indicates a heightened awareness to be on the lookout for something specific. Travelers should keep their senses sharp and be on the lookout for things like trending schemes, scams, or other things that can potentially ruin a trip.
  • Level 3 – Reconsider Travel. Level 3 carries a significant risk to personal safety. It points to unusually high rates of murder, rape, trafficking, terrorism, and civil unrest. Travelers who plan to go to a Level 3 country should consult with their insurance companies, employers, and travel providers. 
  • Level 4 – Do Not Travel. Level 4 destinations have severe risks for travel. Travelers should avoid these destinations, or they will more than likely be a victim of violent crimes. Travelers who choose to ignore level 4 warnings can face life-threatening consequences, like kidnappings without emergency or consular assistance.

Why Should White Woman Reconsider Travel To Nigeria?

Nigeria is Level 3 because it has abnormally high crime rates, kidnapping, terrorism, civil unrest, and maritime crime throughout the country.

Violent crimes are an everyday sight for the locals, and these crimes include:

  • banditry
  • assault
  • armed robbery 
  • hostage-taking
  • rape
  • carjacking

Kidnapping is rampant across the country, too. Criminals target victims with dual citizenship, especially those who come back to Nigeria to visit family or those who appear to have wealth. Kidnappers are so brazen that they have no qualms about grabbing victims on interstate roads.

Terrorism is alive and well in Nigeria. Attacks on shopping malls, markets, hotels, churches, schools, and public transportation happen without warning. Local authorities state that some terrorists work with local gangs to extend their reach.

Southern Nigeria, particularly the Delta Region, suffers from civil unrest and attacks from armed, external groups that oppose the government. This region is prone to maritime crime and kidnappings, and law enforcement has very little success tracking these criminals. 

Maritime crime is at its peak in the Gulf of Guinea. Social unrest also causes conflict and violence between local herders and farmers.

The rampant crime throughout the country significantly limits the US government’s ability to provide emergency services to US citizens. The high level of security risk in some areas makes it very difficult to establish a presence. 

Some Regions Of Nigeria Have A Level 4 Advisory Warning

Despite a level 3 advisory warning carrying a lot of risk, some regions in Nigeria are level 4. Travelers who value their safety should avoid these level 4 areas at all costs.

  • Northern Adamawa states, Kogi, Borno, and Yobe – widespread terrorist activity makes the security in these regions unpredictable and dangerous. Inter-communal violence and kidnappings are also common occurrences. Anti-terrorist operations can occur without warning.

Terrorist groups habitually target mosques, schools, churches, entertainment venues, and travelers.  

  • Kaduna, Gombe, Katsina, Bauchi, Kano, and Zamfara state – security remains uncertain because of violence, kidnappings, and banditry. Operations to fight criminals can occur at any moment and without warning.
  • Bayelsa, Delta, Coastal areas of Akwa Ibom, Cross River, and River states – southern Nigeria have it the worst when it comes to crime rates. Kidnappings and Maritime Crime are through the roof, and civil unrest and armed military are common.

Why Is Crime So Rampant In Nigeria?

The recent events in Nigeria, namely the coup d’état that occurred on July 26, 2023, caused unrest and crime to spike throughout the country.  

The coup resulted from dissatisfaction with how the president handled COVID-19 regulations, corruption allegations, Islamist insurgency in the Sahel region, ethnic tensions, and economic hardship.

It led to international sanctions from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). ECOWAS froze their bank accounts, banned them from entering other ECOWAS countries, and stopped trading with them.

ECOWAS also demanded that the junta give back power to President Bazoum and respect the constitution of Nigeria. It threatened to use military force if the junta did not comply.

The junta, which calls itself the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), rejected ECOWAS’s ultimatum and proposed a three-year transition period to civilian rule. The goal is to organize elections and implement reforms.

The after-effects of the coup triggered divisions and alliances among neighboring countries. Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea supported the junta, while Ghana, Senegal, and Nigeria rejected the notion.  

The crisis highlighted many humanitarian issues, like Nigeria’s security challenges and the lack of basic necessities like food, water, and shelter.

Political Instability And Corruption

Nigeria has a history of military coups, civil wars, ethnic conflicts, and electoral violence that have undermined the legitimacy and effectiveness of the government.

Corruption runs in the veins of almost every institution, and it remains pervasive at best. Statista points out that Nigeria ranks 149 / 180 in terms of corruption in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2020.

The public has little to no trust left in the government because there is no accountability for millions of donated dollars going amiss. Service delivery is unreliable, and criminal activities use loopholes to conduct fraudulent and embezzlement activities.

Terrorism And Insurgency

Nigeria faces numerous security threats from armed groups that use violence and terror to achieve their political or religious goals. Boko Haram is the oldest of these groups, starting as early as 2009.

They aim to overthrow the government and establish an Islamic state. Their murder count on civilians, churches, schools, and mosques runs into the ten thousand.

Communal Violence And Banditry

Nigeria has an infestation of banditry and violence between different ethnic groups, religions, and resources. They are ubiquitous in the central and northwestern regions.

Farmers and herders often clash because of grazing rights, land ownership rights, and access to water. Throw banditry into the mix, and there’s a chaotic mix of robbery, armed gang operations, cattle rustling, and other violent activities.


Please note: Due to recent political events in Nigeria (coup coup d’état on July 26, 2023), crime rates are at their worst. I would normally include safe areas to travel to, but there were none. Hence, there was little to no positivity to include on Nigeria.