Following the increase in kidnap cases in the country, the Nigeria Police Force and the Department of State Services have issued a security advisory to top government officers and prominent Nigerians in the country.
The wife of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Margaret, was kidnapped along the Benin-Agbor Road on Thursday but regained her freedom less than 48 hours after her abductors demanded N100m ransom.
There have been other high-profile kidnappings this year, including the recent abduction of Senator Iyabo Anisulowo and an attempt to kidnap an oil magnate, Mr. Femi Otedola.
Findings by Punch correspondents showed that the two agencies gave the security advisory through the policemen and the DSS operatives attached to government officers, including ministers and other political appointees, as well as lawmakers.
It was learnt that the advisory came on the heels of the change of tactics used by kidnappers targeting top government officials and their family members.
Top on the list of instructions given to politicians, government officials and other prominent individuals was that they should avoid late-night outings and long-distance travels by road, particularly at night.
The security advisory, it was further gathered, also counselled the dignitaries against divulging their destination and itinerary to non-family members or employees, unless it was absolutely necessary for them to know.
A top police source, who confided in Sunday Punch, said, “I am aware that the two security agencies have instructed these ‘big men and women’ on how to conduct themselves, especially now that criminals are targeting prominent individuals and politicians in the country. Some of them will be asking for more police security but it’s beyond that. They need to watch how they move and who they discuss with.”
He referred Sunday Punch to a statement made by one of the three kidnapped landlords, who regained their freedom after their abduction in Lagos a few weeks ago.
The landlord had told Channels Television, that they (the landlords) were not the real target of the kidnappers but that their abductors were looking for politicians.
The landlord stated, “Their (kidnappers) major objective in Lagos was to kidnap senior politicians or ‘big men.’ We were not big men, so we were the wrong target at the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said.
Some prominent politicians told our correspondents that politicians are now living in fear following the spate of kidnappings. They however refused to comment on whether they would be asking for more police protection.