FOR safety, security agencies have restricted the movement of some Very Important Personalities (VIPs) 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 learnt 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The Nation Newspaper