Is Nigeria safe for Americans?

Empty Lighthouse is a reader-supported site. This article may contain affiliate links to Amazon and other sites. We earn a commission on purchases made through these links.


Nigeria, the most populous African nation, is a vibrant and diverse country with rich cultural history, bustling cities, and breathtaking natural landscapes. However, it is essential for American tourists to understand the risks and potential dangers of traveling in Nigeria to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. In this article, we will discuss the primary hazards American tourists may face in Nigeria and provide guidance on how to navigate these challenges. To avoid these risks it's a good idea to purchase travel insurance.

Terrorism and Kidnappings

Nigeria has been grappling with terrorism and kidnappings, particularly in the northern regions, where militant groups such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) operate. These groups have targeted foreigners in the past, including tourists and aid workers, making it crucial for travelers to be vigilant and avoid high-risk areas. The U.S. Department of State regularly issues travel advisories for Nigeria, and American tourists are advised to stay up-to-date on the latest information and follow the guidelines provided.

Crime and Scams

Crime is a concern in Nigeria, particularly in urban areas such as Lagos and Abuja. American tourists should exercise caution when it comes to petty crime, including pickpocketing, purse snatching, and theft from vehicles. Be cautious with your belongings, particularly in crowded areas, and avoid displaying expensive items or large amounts of cash.

Scams targeting foreigners are not uncommon in Nigeria, with "advance-fee" or "419" scams being particularly well-known. Be wary of unsolicited emails, phone calls, or in-person encounters offering lucrative business deals or financial windfalls. Always verify the authenticity of any individual or organization you interact with and avoid sharing personal or financial information.

Health Risks

Several health risks exist for travelers in Nigeria, including malaria, yellow fever, and cholera. It is crucial for American tourists to take necessary precautions, such as getting the appropriate vaccinations, using insect repellent, and practicing good hygiene. Additionally, access to quality healthcare can be limited, especially in rural areas. Travelers should ensure they have adequate travel insurance and carry a well-stocked medical kit.

Road Safety

Road conditions in Nigeria can be dangerous, with poorly maintained roads, erratic driving, and inadequate infrastructure. Traffic accidents are common, and driving at night can be particularly hazardous due to limited visibility and potential criminal activity. It is recommended to hire a local driver or use a reputable transportation service instead of driving yourself.

Cultural Sensitivity

Nigeria is a diverse country with over 250 ethnic groups and various religious practices. It is essential for American tourists to be respectful of local customs and traditions to avoid causing offense or attracting unwanted attention. Dress modestly, particularly in conservative areas, and seek permission before taking photographs of people or religious sites.


While Nigeria offers an exciting and culturally rich experience for American tourists, it is crucial to be aware of the potential dangers and take appropriate precautions. By staying informed, exercising caution, and respecting local customs, you can minimize risks and enjoy a memorable journey through this fascinating country. Travel insurance is a way to mitigate the risk of losing money.