Sometime in the October 2017, I followed crime watch on TVC News Nigeria. The Lagos State Police Command made some arrests and one of the paraded suspects was among those that carried out the hit on Hector the Gulder Ultimate search winner.
I listened closely to his confessions. Of all he said, the following statement caught my attention. He spoke in pidgin but I will rather present it in English.
“We trailed the red car. We lost our trail after a while because it was late. Then we saw an aunty and asked her if she saw a red car that we are trailing it because it hit us and ran away. Then the aunty pointed in the direction the car went. We followed based on the direction given, checked some compounds and found the one that fitted our description…”
I wouldn’t blame the “aunty” for the assailants’ final discovery of the deceased apartment. Maybe they would have found it some other way. Especially if the price they were paid by whoever sent them was huge. But if she was abreast with recent spate of insecurities in the country, and patterns criminals go about their reprehensible acts, maybe she would have feigned ignorance. More so, they were not law enforcement agents.
As a citizen, it is important to know basic security protocols. It will save you and everyone around you from some dangers. Most times our carelessness spill beyond our wildest imaginations.
From the foregoing I hope to share some basic security tips that could help you and yours though not exhaustive.
1. Be discreet with information
You don’t have to divulge certain information about you, family, friends, business and neighbours carelessly to anyone. Divulging so much information may be at your peril. Hence it is expected that you listen carefully to questions about you and yours carefully before answering. Many have been blackmailed unknowingly.
2. Avoid talking to strangers
I boarded a bike some time ago, the bike man asked me unusual questions about the area I reside. I refused answering. He persisted, I kept mute. When I discovered he was taking it personal, in wisdom I waited for him to get to a place where I could see lot of persons and told him to stop. I paid him in full even though I was far from getting home.
3. Don’t be careless with your mobile phone
In one of my recent trip, I observed a trend. A young man approached me. “Bro, I ran out of airtime and I need to make an urgent call please help me.” I obliged, but requested he dictate the number. He refused and insisted he must dial the number himself. Immediately, I had a flashback from the movie 24. I told him to look for someone else. I experienced two more approaches within that space with same strategy and declined.
4. Drive and be security conscious
With recent spate of kidnappings, I observed the victims are sometime accosted while they approach the entrance gate to their homes. Then I ask how come, some of them never observed they were trailed?
As a driver or owner of a car, the side mirrors and the rear-view mirror are not for fancy. When you engage your engine and take off, check your rear-view mirror and take note of the car or bike behind you. Do a check at least every five minutes. When you observe that a particular car or bike have followed you for long, reach for a traffic circle and make a U-turn to see if you are being followed. If you notice the negative proceed to the nearest police station or check point.
5. Use gadgets with caution
As much as possible, avoid taking or making personal/business calls inside a bus, cab or public places. Also, avoid chatting with your phone screen compromised inside a bus or taxi. It might interest you to know that some of these criminals get some information about their victims so cheaply.
6. Locate the nearest police station
Know the location of police stations within your location and if possible, walk up to the nearest one to document their emergency numbers. You may need it to save yourself or a neighbour.
7. Use accredited bus stops
Avoid boarding bikes and cabs at odd locations.
8. Learn basic self-defence skills
Seek avenues to learn basic self-defence skills where necessary. It is important to note that we leave in a country where law enforcement agents’ ratio per citizen is slim. First, be your personal bodyguard.
9. Be courageous
When you find yourself in a cross road with criminals there is the tendency to fear. Nonetheless, sum up courage. Look to see if you can recognize a face or a symbol in the environment. However, don’t make the mistake of letting them know you’ve spotted a familiar face. It could lead to your untimely death.
10. When you’re overpowered don’t struggle, use common sense
Sometime ago, I was returning from Church on a Saturday afternoon. All of a sudden, a car drove and packed in front of me with 4 guys and a lady. They demanded I open my bag. I asked who they were and demanded to see their ID card. They showed me guns. I neatly opened my bag when they saw Bible and children teaching materials they hissed and left me. If I had made attempt to struggle I wonder what the result would be.
11. Code language
If possible, develop code language with every member of your family especially the children.
Be security conscious. Report suspicious activities in your area to the nearest security agency. Life is precious! We must be careful to live it in wisdom.