Nigeria's Rivers state bans people entering, leaving at night

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FILE PHOTO: A woman walks over pipelines crisscrossing Ogoniland in Rivers State

YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigeria's Rivers state will ban people crossing its borders at night due to heightened insecurity, its governor said on Tuesday, as violence and lawlessness surge across the West African country.

Rivers lies in Nigeria's oil-producing heartland, the Niger Delta, where past unrest has crippled crude production as militants destroyed and raided facilities, sending Africa's largest economy into a tailspin.

The ban on people entering or leaving Rivers between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. will take effect from April 28 until further notice, Governor Nyesom Wike said in a statement.

Wike cited the killings of police, customs and civil defence officers on Saturday and of army soldiers on Sunday to justify the curfew.

"The attackers and their sponsors are people who came from outside Rivers state, and as a government we are determined to do everything within our powers to prevent the recurrence of such senseless and murderous acts," he said.

Insecurity has mounted across Nigeria. In the northwest, gunmen have kidnapped more than 700 school children since December, part of a broader breakdown of law and order that has seen militants looting and pillaging communities in the region.

In the northeast, the armed forces are still struggling in a 12-year war with Boko Haram and Islamic State's West Africa branch. On Sunday, more than 30 soldiers died in one militant attack, soldiers and a resident said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the United States consulate in Lagos warned of increased crime in the city.

(Reporting by Tife Owolabi in Yenagoa; Additional reporting by Libby George in Lagos; Writing by Paul Carsten; editing by Grant McCool)