Mobil Producing Nigeria, a subsidiary of the oil giant, ExxonMobil, has advised its personnel in the country to consider online banking for financial transactions and limit physical visits to bank facilities during the Christmas holiday.
The advice is contained in an undated security alert issued as an internal communication to the company’s personnel.
There have been notable attacks on bank customers of late in a state like Akwa Ibom where Mobil’s operation is prominent.
“Recent reports reflect criminals targeting individuals departing banking premises”, the company said in the alert.
Mobil also advised its personnel to avoid carrying a large amount of money in their pockets or inside their vehicle.
The company, which has facilities also in Lagos, and Abuja, advised its personnel to be alert while in a slow moving traffic.
“Criminals have become bolder and now attack vehicle occupants whilst in slow moving traffic,” the company said. “Keep valuables away from sight, avoid street hawkers whilst in traffic, and do not stop when involved in minor road accidents, you may be attacked.”
The company advised its personnel to “minimise outdoor gatherings as they continue to be attractive targets for extremists.
“As an additional precaution, avoid taking routes through such sites where possible Be alert whilst driving, and watch for vehicles tailing you. Drive straight to a police station or public place should you suspect you are being followed. Avoid late night movement”, it said.
A Mobil employee, who didn’t want his name mention because he wasn’t authorised to speak on the matter, told PREMIUM TIMES, Monday, that there was nothing special about the alert.
“Every company does it. It’s a routine security thing for us. From time to time, we issue this kind of precaution even through text messages”, he said.
PREMIUM TIMES contacted the police in Akwa Ibom to get a reaction on the security alert and its preparedness to secure lives and property.
“If we give such advice (Mobil’s alert), we would be creating an atmosphere of fear and panic. We would be making people feel that our banks are unsafe”, the police spokesperson in the state, Bala Elkana, told PREMIUM TIMES.
“And of course our banks are very safe”, he added.
Mr. Elkana, a deputy superintendent of police, said that cases of robbery attack on bank customers in the state in the past were “arranged” mostly by the drivers or other persons who were close to the victims.
“There is also this syndicate that used to attack bank customers in the state, we got them arrested and paraded recently. So, there is no cause for alarm”, Mr. Elkana said, adding that the ”security alert from Mobil can’t be limited to Akwa Ibom.”
“As far as Akwa Ibom is concerned, our banks are safe. We had few isolated cases in the past and we got the syndicate arrested.
“We have also been working closely with the banks. We have been advising the banks and that has also helped them to improve their internal security. We also have a special unit dedicated to patrols around the banks. We have also volunteered free escort services to customers withdrawing bulk sum of money”, the police spokesperson said.