Nigerians react kidnap a dvisory for VIPs A cross-section of Nigerians have expressed dismay and surprise at the issuance of kidnapping manual for VIPs, wondering why the DSS failed to direct it to ordinary citizens who are most vulnerable to the crime.

“We sold our farm to secure the release of our eldest brother from the hands of kidnappers,” said Aisha Isa, a school teacher in Katsina. “And our case is not an exception, many families lost their sources of livelihood because they have to sell everything they have in order to secure the release of their loved ones. In some instances, the kidnappers kill their victims even when the ransom was paid,” she said. “I wouldn’t have been kidnapped if I had access to the advisory,” said a kidnap victim who does not want his name in print. “I am a businessman and had to pay a lot of money to secure my release.

I passed through psychological trauma and my family was also rattled during my days in captivity. Despite assurances by the security agencies, it was the money we paid that my freedom was secured,” he said. “I want to suggest that the federal government and the security agencies should give equal preferences to the safety of the citizens irrespective of status in the society. This is the only way we can secure the country,” he added.

The Executive Director, YIAGA Africa, Mr. Samson Itodo, told Daily Trust that such handbook and other preventive and safety measures should have been for ordinary citizens who are the most vulnerable. Itodo said, “I am surprised that only the VIPs were entitled to the memo when ordinary citizens are the worst hit by kidnapping.

Check the statistics, the masses are the most vulnerable because they do not have the luxury of bodyguards and convoys to protect them.”

On her part, the Director Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Idayat Hassan, said the development was unfair and selective. She said, “It is not just unfair, it is also unprofessional and selective action by the DSS, whose main duties are to protect the internal security of all Nigerians. Such action is suggesting that they serve only a few elite groups and the security of Nigerians is not a priority.”

Also, the Executive Director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Dr.  Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, told Daily Trust that the handbook should have been released to the Nigerian public. “I agree absolutely that the handbook should have been made available to the public whose taxes and sweat  the so-called VIPs are managing. The DSS and other security agencies are created to secure the lives and properties of Nigerian citizens and not for the privileged few,” Zikirullahi said.

Similarly, the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, told Daily Trust that it is surprising that such important information was being given to select individuals. “One would have expected that this should be a public document to protect the citizens from kidnapping and other crimes. One expects the DSS, through its public affairs unit or department to publicize this security handbook.

Limiting it to individuals and some top government officials is unfair especially that this was done with public resources. “So, the DSS should work with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to amplify this and other safety and security measures. The agency (DSS) should also work with the Police in this regard,” Rafsanjani said.

Also speaking, Mr. Jaye Gaskia, the Executive Director, Praxis Centre and Convener, Take Back Nigeria Movement (TBNM), said: “ Given the endemic nature of insecurity in general, and kidnapping in particular, any security advisory aimed at stemming the tide ought to have been made public and productively disseminated. “What the DSS has done in these instance smacks of selective protection for citizens, and is the latest indication of the phenomenon as well as a tragic consequence of elite capture, privatization, and personalization of the state.”

Tips not exclusive for VIPs – DSS

Responding to the allegation of selective distribution, the DSS said the handbook was not exclusive. Spokesman of the Service, Peter Afunanya, told Daily Trust yesterday during a telephone inquiry that the Service conducts regular public awareness on security issues and engages specific stakeholders on security tips.

He said only recently, the service conducted a lecture in the newsroom of a popular online media educating journalists on security tips. He added that the Service is engaging traditional rulers, government agencies, trade unions, and all stakeholders in society on safety measures to avoid kidnapping and other instances of insecurity. “If the DSS creates a handbook for VIPs, it does not exclude others in society,” Afunanya said. Related

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