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Safety, Things you should know

Visitors are advised to check with their foreign ministry for the latest travel advice on Nigeria. Please note that most reports relate to the situation in Lagos and are written to cover them for “worst case scenarios.”
Abuja is generally safe, but as with any city, caution and common sense should still be exercised. Visitors need to be aware that there are the risks of armed robbery and car jacking. Driving after dark. should be at the best of times avoided. Also, avoid any taxi that already has an occupant with the driver.
From time to time occasional social, religious and/or ethnic unrest can present a security threat. Political gatherings, street demonstrations and worker’s protests also have the potential to turn violent. Do avoid if possible.


If you are a victim of a crime in Abuja, report it to the local police. In such events, visitors should also contact their local Embassy, High Commission or Consulate for assistance. They can also offer help finding medical care,   contacting family members or friends and in remitting funds (if needed). They   should also be able to explain how any investigations or prosecutions are likely to   proceed. Unfortunately, the penal system moves very slowly in Nigeria and the Police lack the necessary training and equipment to investigate and prosecute most crimes.


Driving in Abuja
Abuja’s road conditions are fairly good.
Major streets are wide, well maintained and generally well sign posted. Unpaved side streets can however be difficult to manoeuvre. What makes driving in Abuja a challenge is the lack of skill of the other drivers; the condition of many of the vehicles and the loosely followed rules of the road. Also care needs to be taken with the plentiful motorcycle okadas who tend to follow no rules whatsoever creating a risk to themselves and everybody else. It is useful to note that the riding of Okada motorcycles has been outlawed in Abuja City.


Night driving should be minimised for several reasons:
There is a tendency for traffic lights to be off at night and for people to drive in an irresponsible manner.
non-functioning traffic lights and streetlights are extremely dangerous when
combined with vehicles without headlights.
Many cars have just one or no working headlights.

The risk of vehicle hijacking or robbery is greater
Police checkpoints set up on some roads at night are not easily seen as they are not well marked .The police uniforms are dark and their torches not very bright.
Minimal assistance in the event of a breakdown

To stay as safe as possible:
Ensure that the vehicle is in good working order.
carry a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher and an emergency triangle (the latter two are required by law)
Wear seat belts (by law front passengers must also wear seat belts)
Avoid unnecessary driving after dark.
Leave a space between the vehicle in which you are travelling and the vehicle (or object) in front (e.g., your house gate) in case you need to move in a hurry to prevent being trapped.
drive defensively-constantly expecting sudden lane changes (without the use of an indicator_ and sudden stopping (without the forewarning of brake lights.
Use headlights to flash other drivers frequently to let them know you are coming through an intersection and use the horn as an additional warning device.
Avoid driving beyond the city limits at night or embarking on long road trips that will entail arriving after dark.
Avoid isolated or overly crowded areas, especially at night.
Always drive with doors locked and windows closed.

Because of the aforementioned issues, pedestrians and cyclists are particularly at risk and do not have “the right-of-way” in Abuja. Particular care should be taken when using pedestrian crossings. There is a tendency for motorists to ignore the green man sign allowing you to cross the road. Also to use the pedestrian crossing to make U turns.

If there is an accident, a large group of on lookers may gather. Sometimes these groups of people can turn onto a mob crowd. If it starts looking that way, drive (or take a taxi if the car is immobilised) immediately to the nearest police post and report the accident.


Driving Outside Abuja

Driving outside Abuja with non-CD plates can be quite a nerve-racking experience for visitors. There are numerous police and army checkpoints on the road, but also many other types of gauntlets to pass. One is Local Government Revenue-Exercise officials who surround the car, put nailed planks in front of you and demand to see your permit for advertising on the side of the car. This will cost around N5000 and is valid’ for one year. The permit can be shown anywhere in the country. Another is Road Safety teams that will flag you down and check your car for things such as lack of warning triangle or ‘wrong type of extinguisher’. It is best to provide copies of the car papers-not the originals-or may be expensive to have them returned. The best way round this is to carry an official letter from a government or international body saying who you are and who to contact in case of any query. This is usually sufficient.