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Upsurge In Bulletproof Cars As Insecurity Prevails In Nigeria



One may start to see reasons why Nigerian political office holders are addicted to purchasing bulletproof cars when they assume office. At the moment, no man knows the importance of a bulletproof car more than Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, who represents Anambra South Senatorial Zone at the Red Chamber. 
Yesterday, Sunday, September 8, would have marked the end of the 51-year-old Young Progressives Party senator as gunmen who were armed to the teeth rained bullets on his convoy. An unspecified number of police operatives and aides died in the attack.
Despite the rain of terror on Ubah’s car, he left the bloody scene without a scratch. The first guess will lead you to think it was through some sort of African magic or his Christian God took him away like he rescued the biblical Daniel from the den of hungry lions, but none of these was the case for the politician, he owes his life to his bulletproof vehicle.
Ubah’s media aide, Kameh Ogbonna, moments after the attack, said it was his principal’s bulletproof vehicle that saved the lawmaker’s life. His words were, “If not for the bulletproof jeep the senator was riding in, he would have been dead by now.”
The lawmaker is not alone in acquiring exotic bulletproof cars. In fact, some of political leaders, if not most, have been indicted for squandering public funds that were embezzled to purchase these cars. Most Nigerians, over the years, have questioned the rationale behind these expensive purchases as they have torrents of policemen and trained combatants who go around with them. Little wonder that Ogbonna disclosed that seven security operatives died in the attack, which excludes the wounded and the saved.
The average price of an armoured vehicle in Nigeria ranges between a whopping N90 million to N150 million. The cost could be more, depending on the level of armour recommended or requested by the buyer, and much depends on the location of use and the type of threat the owner is guarding against. Over 75 percent of the country’s population cannot afford these cars.
According to Sellatease, an armoured car seller in Nigeria, most high-end cars don’t have a fixed price but a Bulletproof Lexus LX570 in Nigeria goes from N180 million to N215 million. The cars come with lavish features that speak of class and rank. However, most Nigerian buyers purchase their safety, because insecurity has eaten deep into every region of the country.
In 2013, former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, was enmeshed in one of the country’s most celebrated car purchase scandals after it was reported that she acquired two armoured cars for N255 million. The purchase caught the attention of the nation with several individuals and groups demanding her prosecution. In her defence, she explained that it was purchased for the Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government.
Similarly, former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki was slammed for allegedly purchasing bulletproof cars worth N330 million in 2016, a period considered to be unsettled for the nation’s economy. In the same biting recession of 2016, the former governor of Bauchi state, Muhammed Abubakar and his deputy, Nuhu Gidado, splashed millions of naira on armoured vehicles.
For Nigerian politicians using bulletproof vehicles, it is a long list that includes the Minister of Interior and former governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom; his Delta State counterpart and 2023 vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ifeanyi Okowa and a host of others.
Nevertheless, this recent attack on Senator Ubah may further boost the yearning for more bulletproof cars for Nigerian politicians. This may even go as far as creating legal grounds for political officeholders to squander taxpayers’ money on armoured cars in the name of adequate security.
 The attack may usher us into an era of bulletproof cars, doors, windows and gates becoming the new refuge for Nigerian politicians who are scared of attacks by gunmen who now have access to both prisons and palaces across the country.
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