The United Nations (UN) has issued a stark warning about the alarming surge in kidnapping for ransom incidents across various regions of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The international organization expressed deep concern over the escalating frequency of the incidents, prompting a call for urgent attention and enhanced security measures.
The UN’s Chief Security Advisor and representative of the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) in Nigeria, Phillip Ackatia-Armah, revealed that criminals increasingly target individuals perceived as capable of paying a ransom.
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In an advisory seen by Dockaysworld, Ackatia-Armah emphasized that while UN staff and their dependents may not be directly singled out, their vulnerability stems from residing in communities where they may be recognized as potential sources of ransom funds.
Parts of the document read:
“Exercise caution by limiting nighttime movement, especially when alone. Be aware of the current security situation, recent incidents, or potential threats. Avoid areas known for criminal activities.
“Change daily routes and timings to avoid predictable movements, making it difficult for potential threats to anticipate actions.
“Have emergency contact numbers readily available and inform others of your whereabouts. Keep family, friends, or colleagues informed at all times.
“Pay close attention to the kidnapper’s details, surroundings, and any distinct features for law enforcement. If possible, establish a rapport with the kidnapper by staying calm and avoiding actions that may provoke aggression.
“Share personal information that may evoke empathy, presenting yourself as more than just an object. Subtly signal for help without alerting the kidnapper, leaving clues or communicating discreetly with bystanders.
“Continuously assess surroundings for potential escape routes and act decisively if the opportunity arises. Keep mental strength intact, focusing on survival instincts until help arrives.”
Incidents of kidnapping for ransom have become particularly pronounced in Abuja in recent weeks.
The UN said the recommendations are geared towards ensuring the safety of its personnel in the Nigerian capital.