While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case in Nigeria. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
The Nigerian currency, the Naira, is non-convertible. While U.S. dollars may easily be exchanged at major hotels, banks, and foreign exchange offices, visitors should expect to pay most bills using the local currency. Nigeria is mainly a cash economy, and it is usually necessary to carry sufficient currency to cover the expenses of a planned visit, which makes travelers an attractive target for criminals. Credit cards are rarely accepted at businesses, except for a few upscale hotels. Due to credit card fraud in Nigeria and by cohorts in the United States, credit card use should be considered carefully. While Citibank cashes some traveler’s checks, most other banks do not. American Express does not have offices in Nigeria; however, Thomas Cook does. Inter-bank transfers are often difficult to accomplish, though money transfer services such as Western Union and MoneyGram are available, but only for transfers from abroad to Nigeria.
Visitors to Nigeria should avoid taking still photographs or videotaping in and around areas that are potentially restricted sites, including all government sites. Permission is required to videotape or take photographs of any government buildings, airports, bridges, and throughout the country in areas where the military is operating. These sites include, but are not limited to, federal buildings in the Three Arms Zone of Abuja (Presidential Palace area, National Assembly, Supreme Court/Judiciary), other government buildings, and foreign embassies and consulates. Many restricted sites are not clearly marked, and these restrictions are subject to interpretation by the Nigerian security services. Violations can result in detention. In the past, U.S. citizens, including U.S. government officials, have been detained by Nigerian authorities for several hours for taking photographs in Abuja around these sites. Permission may be obtained from Nigeria's State Security Services, but even permission may not prevent the imposition of penalties or detention by other security officials. Penalties for unauthorized photography or videography may include confiscation of the still or video camera, exposure of the film or deletion of digital footage, a demand for payment of a fine or bribe, and/or detention, arrest, or physical assault.