CEM REPORT, FINANCE | The United Kingdom (UK) has urged its citizens in Nigeria and those travelling into the country to take extra precautions around banks and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the country.
The UK government, through its Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), issued the safety advisories to its citizens in Nigeria and those travelling to Nigeria.
The advisory is due to the naira scarcity occasioned by the implementation of the naira redesigned policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the spike in criminal activities in those places and around banks and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the country.
The UK government also informed her citizens of the coming general elections in Nigeria, warning them of possible pockets of violence in some parts of the country.
“Around 117,000 British tourists visit Nigeria every year. Most visits are trouble-free, but a small number of British people encounter problems. You should take sensible precautions to protect your safety.
“Nationwide elections will take place in Nigeria on 25 February and 11 March 2023. Movement restrictions may be enforced during this period, especially on election days, and there is a heightened risk of protests and violence. See more information under ‘Protests and Demonstrations.
“Nigeria is mainly a cash economy, although the use of credit and debit cards is increasing – especially in the big cities,” the update reads.
“If you intend to use cash, make sure you bring enough foreign currency to cover costs. It is illegal to change money on the street and traveller’s cheques are difficult to cash.
“Credit card fraud is common, so take care if using your card. You should take advice from your card issuer before travelling if you intend to use your credit or debit card in Nigeria.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria has directed the redesign and issue of new N200, N500 and N1’000 Naira notes. This has led to shortages of cash, which are likely to persist for a period. 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.
“There have been outbreaks of violence in South West Nigeria as a result of cash shortages, and there is a risk of other urban areas being impacted across the country.
‘’We advise travellers in Nigeria to exercise their judgement, including being aware of any large crowds or potential disturbances.”
Protests and violence have been reportedly spreading across some states leading to the destruction of properties including some bank ATMs over the naira scarcity caused by the CBN’s naira redesign policy.
The violence, which paralysed social and economic activities in the Edo and Delta states, also claimed 3 lives while many others were injured during the riot.
The protests equally spread to Oyo, Ondo, Benue and Kwara states as residents vented their anger over the scarcity of cash which had made life unbearable for many Nigerians.