Some Nigerian VIP’s Including the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, former-President Shehu Shagari, former military President Ibrahim Babangida, former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and others. Also affected by the “protective” restriction are prominent emirs, governors, former-governors, ministers, former-ministers and some highly-placed Nigerians. Those concerned are to depend on travel advisory from security agencies before visiting any part of the Northeast – the heart of the Boko Haram insurgency, which has claimed thousands of lives. It was gathered that where visits are inevitable, security will be strengthened to guarantee the passage of such personalities.
The travel advisory followed threats by Boko Haram to attack Gen. Babangida and a former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari. SEE MORE AFTER CUT>>>>>
Others targeted by the sect are Kano State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and his Borno State counterpart, Kashim Shettima, a former Governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero and the Shehu of Borno.
Although the security walls around some of those on the wanted list of the sect seem impenetrable, it was learnt that the agencies have decided to take pre-emptive measures to avoid any problem.
The agencies do not want the politically-exposed persons to be either victims of the insurgents or be caught in a crossfire.
A security source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The restriction is in form of travel advisory. It is part of our new proactive steps to check these insurgents who can hit any target.
“The killing of Gen. Muhammadu Shuwa, the attacks on the Emir of Kano and Shehu of Borno and others have made this restriction necessary.
If they want to travel to any part of the Northeast, intelligence report will determine clearance by security agencies.
“And as for those whose visits are unavoidable, like governors, adequate security measures will be put in place for easier passage.”
The aim, The Nation learnt is not to curtail their fundamental human rights to freedom of movement. Security agencies are usually updated with their movement schedules by their security detail and where it is challenging to be in a place or an environment at any given period, a clear and concise advice is given.
Another source said security agencies do not want the VIPs to be caught in the crossfire between troops and the insurgents.
He cited Senator Ali Ndume whose convoy was sighted by Air Force jet fighters. He was asked to stop and he did, when it was confirmed who he was, he was waved on. The convoy was almost picked up as that of the insurgents.
Another source also said security agencies had been providing cover for some of these personalities.
“In fact, some of these leaders apply for escorts whenever it is necessary to visit their states and they are usually given by security agencies”, he said.Many former-governors, senators and members of the House of Representatives enjoy such services. Among them is a former governor in the Northeast who was once quizzed on alleged link with Boko Haram.
“This is to show you that both the military and security agencies are unbiased against any individual or person,” the source said, pleading not to be named because the matter is “sensitivity”.
Another source said: “I think your enquiries border on what I may call routine process but we are paying attention to the situation in the Northeast and movement of these VIPs.
“At least, we have increased exchange of movement between security detail of some of these personalities, including ex-Heads of State, with relevant agencies.”