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Whether you are an ex-pat or a citizen, travelling for business in Nigeria can be daunting. The 2020 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) rates personal safety in Nigeria 48 out of 54 countries reviewed (despite our overall score on governance being 34 out of 54).
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Plan in Advance
Before you get to the airport, sort out your logistics. Decide how you will leave the airport when you arrive at your destination. Make sure you have your luggage tag to ease your wait at baggage claim. Book your hotel accommodation and ensure your ride knows the way there. You might be caught in some queues at the airport but that’s okay, just be prepared for the wait. Do your research. Ask the locals for security risks in the areas you would be passing through or staying in. Take notes on how to avoid trouble.
Know the Local Laws
Acquaint yourself with the laws of the land to avoid getting into trouble with the authorities. Some states have more stringent laws than others. For example, if you are caught against traffic on a one-way route in Lagos, you may have your vehicle confiscated to be auctioned off. While if you park in certain places (e.g. at Ring Road in Benin City), your vehicle could be towed away by government officials. Certain states may have their own internal curfews that must be respected besides the normal 10 pm-6 am curfews imposed by the Federal Government.
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Restrict Your Movement
If you are a foreigner, don’t walk around town alone. You don’t want to wander off and get lost outside your comfort zone. You can go on a walk with a Nigerian friend or a prearranged urban walking tour with a tour agency. It’s best to limit your movements to your accommodation or the location where your business will be held. Also, don’t drive at night. If you must move at night, it’s best to drive through busy commercial areas or streets with functional street lights.
Avoid places of worship, crowded markets, or government facilities if you are in a state that has experienced a terror attack. Crowded spots are usually targets for miscreants and terrorists. If you have access to an intelligence network, pay attention to the information shared there per time. Also, air pollution from fumes shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that the majority of Nigerians use generators. So expect it. Having the Nigerian Mobile Police (MOPOL) with you is also not a bad idea. They can talk you through a checkpoint or roadblock manned by other security agencies. They also provide protection because they are legally allowed to carry weapons and firearms.
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