Aftermath of increasing incidents of high profile abductions and the subsequent demands for huge ransom by kidnappers in the country, many lawmakers have decided to stop the use of their official vehicles and number plates for fear of being identified and abducted.
It was gathered that the decision followed experience of a lawmaker from Kano State, Garba Umar Durbunde who was kidnapped by gun men along the Abuja-Kaduna Road, after which he reportedly paid N10m ransom to secure his freedom.
There are also reports that Senator Jonah Jang’s aide was killed last weekend, in a failed attempt to abduct his boss.
A member of the House of Representatives disclosed that it was no longer safe to use official plate numbers, because of the level of insecurity in the country.
“Look around, how many members do you see using their number plates with ‘Reps’ written and displayed?
“Before now, it was fashionable to do so. The number plates could open the way for you because it identified you as a VIP; but not anymore because of security concerns.
“These days, people do not want to be identified as lawmakers. When a member uses the official number plate, you will find out that it will be covered.
“Covering the plates ordinarily means that they are not riding in the vehicles, but the truth is that they are there in them.
“Generally, they want to keep a low profile. Some prefer that they are not noticed at all than for them to be noticed with a retinue of policemen, which draws attention,” he said.
Senator representing Oyo South Senatorial District, Adesoji Akanbi, told a national daily, that he has stopped going on road trips except it is unavoidable.
He said: “I believe that it is the duty of the government to protect lives and properties. Either as a lawmaker or not, the government owes you that duty.
“But being a lawmaker exposes you to such people (criminals) more and I believe that the onus is on all of us (lawmakers) to take our security seriously.
“Someone like me did not believe in going around with persons for security but right now, I have to start thinking about it.
“I didn’t believe that there was the need to move about with security detail, the reason being that I am loved in my constituency and connected with them.
“But it is getting beyond that now and we now have to take our security seriously. The law enforcement agencies must also support us lawmakers.”
He added, “Of course, road travels have disappeared on my radar especially now that the airports are operating.
“It is now suicidal to go on road trips unless something urgent happens and there are no flights.”
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