Back to Africa Check

Viral Lagos kidnapping ‘security intel’ not from us, say Nigerian state police

IN SHORT: The police have often advised Nigerians to be safe while commuting. But a security warning about the Lagos neighbourhood of Gbagada circulating on Facebook and WhatsApp is not from the police.

The Lagos state police have allegedly issued a security warning to commuters on the Gbagada expressway in Lagos, south-west Nigeria.

The message has been circulating on WhatsApp and Facebook. It claims that there have been cases of kidnapping on the motorway and that people should be aware of their safety.

The Gbagada expressway is a major thoroughfare in the city, connecting various parts of Lagos and running through the Gbagada area.

Gbagada is a serene, popular destination in Lagos for shopping and entertainment. The location also provides quick access to Lagos’s Third Mainland Bridge, which connects the mainland to the island. This makes Gbagada a good place for working people to live.

The message is headlined: “LAGOS STATE SECURITY ALERT”.

It reads, in part: “We are writing to bring your attention to a critical security alert we have received from the Lagos State Police Command. According to the information provided, there has been an increase in kidnapping incidents along the Gbagada Expressway. The perpetrators are employing the ‘one chance’ method of targeting unsuspecting commuters.”

According to the post, the police have advised Nigerians to “exercise extreme caution” and to share the message with family and friends.

The message also appeared here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here on Facebook. 

Kidnappings in Nigeria are in the media almost every week. But is this a security alert from the police? We checked.


‘Message not from the command’

On 22 January 2024, the state police said the message didn’t come from them.

“The Lagos State Police Command wishes to debunk a now viral advisory on social media purportedly emanating from the Command about an increase in kidnapping incidents along Gbagada Expressway,” the police tweeted

“The Command hereby states unequivocally that the claim that such a security alert was issued by the Lagos State Police Command is false. That notwithstanding, the Command is not unmindful of the concerns raised in the alert.”

Police advised people to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the nearest police station.

People often share such messages out of concern for their friends and family. But such an unverified message could also cause panic among residents and commuters in the area.

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.