Govt issues travel advice, Nigerians to beware of tricksters in UK
From Martins Oloja and Nkechi Onyedika (Abuja)
NIGERIA yesterday followed the example of other nations on travel advice to their citizens travelling to other countries.
The government urged its citizens “to be wary of miscreants who employ a great variety” of tricks “to dispossess people” of their property.
The “miscreants,” the government added, are “generally white” although “persons of east European and North African origins are not excluded.”
The advice was confirmed in a statement by the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation yesterday as emanating from the Nigerian High Commission in London.
The United States and the UK frequently issue such pieces of advice to their nationals, which the Nigerian government has always swiftly refuted.
The ministry’s statement yesterday read: “We have just received a travel advice from the Nigerian High Commission in London, United Kingdom, urging Nigerians travelling to the UK to be wary of miscreants who employ a great variety of trickeries to dispossess people of their properties”.
Such tricks, it added, include “pouring tomato juice or other substances” upon their victims’ dresses, and then offering to help remove it.
“They may also feign to pick an object which had fallen under their victims seat in order to distract attention,” the statement added.
It continued: “In the recent past, the Nigerian High Commission has observed an upsurge in pick-pocketing, actual robberies and assault against Nigerians who are on visit to London. The major flashpoints of these crimes include airports, hotels and restaurants, high-streets, shopping centres, markets, tube stations, bus-stops and even inside buses. The occurrences have been particularly high at Heathrow Airport, Oxford Street, Piccadilly and Charring Cross.”
The government continued: “There is also no evidence that Nigerians are being specifically targeted but ostentatious dressing, spending and ancillary actions may identify a target.”
It therefore advised Nigerian travellers “not to carry large amount of money on their body and ensure their air-tickets, passports, expensive wrist-watches as well as trinkets are securely hidden.”
The statement added: “Importantly, people should watch out for Metropolitan Police signs, which warn that “thieves operate in this area”.
Nigerian Guardian Newspapers Limited