Top 5 Safest States For Foreigners in Nigeria (2024)
Is Nigeria safe for foreigners to visit and live in? This is a common question asked by many foreigners looking to travel or move to Africa’s most populous country.
With news headlines frequently highlighting stories about terrorism, kidnapping, and political instability in Nigeria, the security concerns are understandable.
However, Nigeria has over 200 million people inhabiting 36 distinctive states, each with varying levels of safety and stability.
So, while parts of northern Nigeria continue to grapple with Islamic extremism from groups like Boko Haram, there are a number of relatively safe states suitable for foreigners in 2024.
But which are the safest states in Nigeria for foreigners right now?
TOP 5 SAFEST STATES FOR FOREIGNERS IN NIGERIA (2024)
Based on a thorough analysis of security factors, below are the top 5 safest states for foreigners in Nigeria as of 2024:
Lagos State takes the top spot as the safest state for foreigners in Nigeria in 2024 due to substantial security improvements. The threat of terrorism continues to decline as security agencies effectively foil plots and apprehend militants. Kidnappings targeting foreigners have reduced due to police crackdowns on criminal gangs and tighter security at foreign business locations and residences.
The state government has invested heavily in security equipment and training for law enforcement officers. Surveillance systems with facial recognition technology have also been installed across the state to aid crime fighting. With these measures, violent crimes like armed robbery and carjacking have fallen. Foreign embassies also report that security for their staff based in Lagos has improved.
The equity, inclusion and good governance policies of the state government have reduced ethnic and religious tensions. This has made Lagos relatively peaceful with fewer incidences of civil unrest violence compared to other parts of Nigeria.
Overall, Lagos offers reasonable safety for foreigners who take basic security precautions. Areas like Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Lekki are considered very secure for foreigners.
ABUJA – FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY
Nigeria’s capital city comes second as a relatively safe location for foreigners.
As the seat of Nigeria’s federal government, security is given utmost priority in Abuja. Police and military presence is heavy across the city, curtailing crimes like armed robbery, kidnapping and acts of terrorism.
Unlike other parts of Northern Nigeria, Abuja has witnessed stability and a decline in Islamic extremist activities. Security agencies carry out intensive surveillance and operations to prevent militant groups like Boko Haram from infiltrating the capital. These efforts have ensured Abuja records no major terror incident since 2014.
Abuja’s reputation as an extremely expensive city has also worked for its advantage in terms of safety. The exorbitant cost of living has priced many petty and desperate criminals out of the city. A bulk of the crimes recorded are non-violent crimes like phone snatching and pickpocketing which pose minimal risk to foreigners.
Districts like Maitama, Asokoro and Wuse 2 are quite secure for expatriates to reside.
Enugu emerges the third safest state for foreigners primarily due to its peaceful atmosphere and very low incidence of ethno-religious conflict. In a country grappling with ethnic and religious tensions, Enugu stands out for its diversity, inclusion and good relations between people of different faiths and ethnicity. The last major violent clash recorded was the Odim/Adada crisis in 2013 which caused no fatalities.
Enugu also presents one of the lowest crime rates across Nigerian states. Kidnappings and armed robbery do occur but the incidences are infrequent especially in areas like the Government Reserved Area (GRA) where foreigners are likely to settle. The few recorded kidnappings have targeted wealthy locals rather than foreigners.
With police response having improved and state investments in surveillance infrastructure, Enugu promises to be an even safer destination for expatriates in the coming years. The presence of higher institutions of learning and a growing tech ecosystem could attract more foreigners too.
Rivers State makes the list owing to recent security reforms that have led to significant improvements in safety levels across the state. The launch of the C4i Integrated Security Platform with policing facilities that incorporate drones, helicopters and thousands of surveillance cameras has been instrumental to restoring stability. Previously prone to incessant cult violence, communal clashes and militancy, Rivers recorded zero major security breach between 2022 and 2023. This established sense of security has endured over the months leading into 2024.
The heavy presence of police officers, some from tactical units like the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), has also deterred crimes like kidnapping and armed robbery that previously plagued parts of the state.
Areas like Port Harcourt city and the planned areas of Obio/Akpor like Rumukwurusi, Rumuomasi and Elekahia are quite safe for foreigners.
Improvements in security in Rivers promises to attract more foreign businesses and oil workers to the state which is the economic nerve of Nigeria’s oil industry.
AKWA IBOM STATE
Akwa Ibom is one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria. The state stood out as the most peaceful state in the Niger Delta in 2022 and 2023 with no incidence of militancy, vandalism of oil facilities, sea piracy or communal tensions.
The Pastor Umo Eno-led administration has fostered an atmosphere of good governance, equity and justice providing citizens with very little motivation to resort to violence and crime. Additionally, the introduction of livestock and food cultivation clusters has improved food security and provided employment opportunities for youth.
Areas like Uyo, Ikot Ekpene and Eket are very safe for foreigners to reside. The heavy presence of police officers and local surveillance by citizens through initiatives like the neighborhood watch scheme also contributes to the security.
The Akwa Ibom State Government has cultivated collaborations with foreign organizations like the UNDP, foreign embassies and private equity firms. The government’s open stance towards foreigners and business investments points to the security coverage extended towards visitors.
In summary, while safety threats exist in certain areas, Nigeria still boasts states that offer comfortable sanctuary for foreigners in 2024.
The top 5 safest places analyzed, spanning Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, Ogun and Akwa Ibom, possess security cover adequate for investors, tourists, diplomats and expatriates.
However, visitors must still undertake necessary precautions as criminal elements and thug behavior prevail countrywide.
Nevertheless, Nigeria’s most secure states assure fundamental protection for foreigners.