'Call Bob', he said, as we discussed over the phone.
I had just arrived in Port Harcourt for a few days official duty and had wanted a vehicle to lease, but my mind kept reminding me one thing. Kidnapping cases are high here and the kidnappers focus is often on oil workers.
I had come to inspect drilling activities in one of the coastal communities, but stories about kidnapping that I have read kept popping up in my thoughts.
Who is Bob? I asked, as we continued the discussion. My phone beeped and it was an SMS with the number of the company.
I called and in few minutes I was picked up at the airport by a young man, who has a courteous way of talking.
We had barely moved away from the main city when the driver informed me he needed to change his route.
He had received a call and, afterwards, he made the announcement.
I was scared. In my desire to know what was happening, I asked him: "Is anything the matter?"
"A particular vehicle is trailing us," he responded, but quickly followed with a calming statement. "There is no cause for worry. We will arrive your destination safely.
The confidence in his voice brought a reassurance that made me calm down.
We were in a Hilux vehicle which is one of the vehicles in Bob's fleet, as I later realised.
Some minutes after we changed the course of our journey, the driver drove into a compound, which was Call Bob's company and I was ushered into a room.
I had wanted to ask why we were there when the Managing Director of the company, Mr George Okoroma, walked in.
Politely, he told me we needed to employ the services of some security personnel before we will proceed.
He took me to a room and plainly showed me the situation I could not see after we left the airport.
A vehicle had consistently followed us at a safe distance, triggering concerns.
It was a great relief, knowing that the company had put in place a great strategy to ensure the safety of their customers.
When I probed further, Mr Okoroma told me he had been in vehicle leasing business for over 13 years and had added to that experience necessary technology that has helped on detecting such issues.
"We imported technologies from Morocco and South Africa.
"We invited a Moroccan to our office and he helped to work on how we monitor our drivers and vehicles.
"For instance, there was an accident that occurred once. We didn't need anyone to explain to us as it was already recorded.
"We have never experienced any case of kidnapping. Most times our clients provide security for the vehicles.
"There are areas our clients do not travel to without a convoy. That is necessary for safety," he said.
"We sometimes suggest to our clients that its not safe for our vehicles to travel to a particular area without a convoy.
"That way, everyone is safe and happy."
After we had that little discussion, we continued our journey now in a different SUV while the Hilux also left with another individual in the vehicle to another direction.
I remembered he had told me that there was a decoy that would further ensure my safety.
After I arrived at my destination, I was looking forward to the day I will leave, being sure I would be safely taken to the airport.
WilliamsOsewezina [email protected]