Article by Mark Lowe
In September 1982, the English punk rock band The Clash released one of their most successful songs: “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?”
Fast forward almost exactly forty years and this is exactly the question that a number of individuals are asking themselves in regards to visiting Nigeria.
Over the past weekend both the United States and the United Kingdom issued travel warnings regarding possible terrorist attacks.
The U.S. Embassy in Nigeria specified that “there is an elevated risk of terror attacks in Nigeria, specifically Abuja“, adding that shopping malls, law enforcement facilities and international organisations were amongst potential targets.
Both Washington and London believe that other potential targets include government buildings, places of worship and schools and have advised their citizens to stay alert due to an “increased threat of terrorist attacks in Abuja” warning that “Attacks could be indiscriminate and could affect western interests.”
So what should be done in the case of having a business meeting planned over the next few days or having accepted an invitation to speak next Thursday at an international conference in Abuja?
How do you answer the question “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?”
The first step would seem the most obvious: what does our Travel Security Policy state and what do our Travel Risk Management procedures stipulate?
Without any doubt, the first evaluation that an organisation’s Travel Risk Management procedures will specify is “Can the trip be postponed?” Only after this will the procedures move on to the risk/benefit ratio which will then be evaluated in accordance to the organisation’s risk appetite.
Obviously before any risk/benefit ratio can be calculated reliable, precise and updated information is required and this is where a major hurdle might have to be addressed: do we have access to this information?
Assuming that access to said information is available the next step will be to evaluate the additional security measures that the current situation requires. This will in part be covered in the organisation’s Travel Risk Management procedures but in all probability local expert advice will be required. Does your organisation have access to specialist support in Abuja?
What the American and British travel alert highlights is that, even if insecurity is a well-known and understood problem in Nigeria, the situation can deteriorate from one day to the next and therefore organisations with local interests must absolutely have access to specialist advice and support.
Hopefully, one memorable line from Mick Jones’ 1982 hit will not always be the case but it is worth bearing in mind and reflecting on before making the decision to travel: “If I go, there will be trouble.”
When your trip is only two days away and your visa expires in thirty days time, it’s too late to start looking for the necessary advice and assistance. Make certain that you have a reliable advisor who will keep you out of Jones’ “trouble”.
If you would like to know more about how Pyramid Temi Group can assist your organisation with worldwide Travel Risk Management solutions, contact us and our experts will be glad to assist.