16th August 2014 at 05:37 #531422
Anonymous16th August 2014 at 05:37 #531423
Good morning, all
I have just been asked to go to Nigeria to address an event there – I am presuming it would be in Abuja. Having never travelled there before and given current health and security issues, I wondered if anyone has any up-to-date advice? I have not accepted the invitation yet so would appreciate anything that would help me make up my mind!!16th August 2014 at 06:37 #531424
Tom, via my company I receive email updates from a company called International SOS / Control Risks.
Following is their current analysis on the situation.
Hope this helps.16th August 2014 at 07:23 #531425
Thanks, first_class_please, this is a useful start16th August 2014 at 08:12 #531426
Nigeria is a fascinating country, though one with plenty of troubles, though if you confine yourself to Abuja Tom you should be shielded from most of the problems such as Boko Harem etc.
However, there is one thing you can’t shield yourself from and that is Ebola, and for that reason alone I would avoid going to Nigeria.16th August 2014 at 08:28 #531427
If you are travelling individually, Ebola aside, your hosts should guarantee your safety by providing you with a driver and armed guard especially if you are expected to travel between a range venues.27th August 2014 at 07:01 #531428
Three things to consider:
– You want an escort at least from the airport (I take it both ways). No nice ladies here, just a bunch of private guards with AK47s. Usually one in the front of your car plus some in the SUV following you. Although this is not the aim, it also helps in trafic jams.
– Hotel selection should include security assessment (mostly that it is fenced and guarded). Since going out at night alone is not an option, make sure the place is large enough if you are to stay there for a while (swimming pool, more than one restaurant, …)
– Ebola: it is transmitted by fluids. It seems Nigerians simply stopped touching each others (no hand shakes, no hugs, …). In addition, the 5 fatalities that occurred in Lagos were all linked, from what I understood, to the person who left Liberia already sick and collapsed in Lagos. Many tried to help, for their misfortune.
Bottom line: I’d go there although monitoring closely the situation. Nigerian people in addition are great provided you can cope with their quite direct way of communicating (I like it personally).27th August 2014 at 08:56 #531429
Tom, I had a similar offer last year and having visited Nigeria only once before I wasn’t really in a rush to go back. All the previous advise given is very good a necessary,
I turned down my offer on the basis that the talk I was asked to give and the audience for who it is was intended added little value to the greater issues of that country or the vast majority of people in need.
Don’t get me wrong I am no philanthropist; I just believed in my instance it really wasn’t worth my risk or inconvenience for what it was I had to deliver,27th August 2014 at 09:48 #531430
You certainly need organised transfers, but I would argue that to have armed guards in 2 cars with blacked out windows etc simply draws attention to you which is the least thing which is needed in Nigeria.
Ive been a few times and find that a relaxed demeanour is far more effective than any number of AK47’s…
Lagos definitely not needed, Abuja probably not. Port Harcourt definitely needed.
The Nigerians are wonderful people and yes the place is somewhat chaotic so go prepared for an experience.28th August 2014 at 14:25 #531431
Hi Tom – I would add a few things (based on having worked there intermittently for last six years):
1. Visa takes time and is not cheap (I believe there is an on arrival service now, but I wouldn’t trust it).
2. You need Yellow Fever certificate
3. The event could equally be in Lagos (commercial capital) as Abuja
4. In my opinion, there isn’t a really a need for armed transport in Abuja. In Lagos, perhaps at night time depending where you are going.
5. As others have commented, make you have a driver to pick you up and drop you off at airport.
6. Abuja – hotels are not great and not cheap. Sheraton and Hilton are the best too in my opinion. If in Lagos, it really depends where the event (Victory Island, Ikeja, elsewhere – its a big place and traffic is bad so you want to stay near the venue)
Good luck with your travels of you decide to go.10th June 2015 at 13:36 #531432
Security: While I feel the escort is less necessary in Lagos, I am wondering whether it is or not in Abuja, a city I’ve never visited. Any hindsight, guys?
Thanks10th June 2015 at 14:28 #531433
I visited Abuja a few years ago. We had a driver who transporting us in a mini van. Never felt in danger travelling about.
We stayed at the Sheraton which was a bit crap. We went to the Hilton a couple of times for dinner and watch football in the bar. This place is so much better and if you can try and stay here.
Both the Sheraton and Hilton had a lot of security. First there was Army checkpoints for vehicles entering the hotel complex, then airport style security (x-ray and metal detector) at the hotel lobby and finally a security guard at the bottom of the elavators.
I agree with ChrisJR’s points above. Make sure you get your visa and jabs sorted well in advance of your trip.
Safe travels.10th June 2015 at 15:40 #531434
ChrisJR has it about right for me.
There have been no Ebola cases in Nigeria since October and I think that bit is over played now.10th June 2015 at 17:58 #531435
@simon: I was not making reference to Ebola. I was actually in Lagos last month…11th June 2015 at 16:07 #531436
Since you seem to be concerned visiting Nigeria because of the numerous issues you raised, please do not go. Perhaps the thousands of ‘Westerners’ who travel there are fools. As a matter of fact, all the flights to Nigeria are normally fully booked. By executives and expatriates of oil companies, contractors, etc. So my advice: wait for more auspicious time when all those problems you listed are fully eliminated before you consider visiting Nigeria.
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