Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Important Security And Safety Tips When Lodging in A Hotel

Preamble: Some of us may have come across the reported ritual killing of a postgraduate student, one Timothy Adegoke Oladare at Hilton And Resort Hotel in Ife. He was based in Abuja but reportedly traveled to Ile Ife in Osun state to write his master’s degree exam but was allegedly murdered in his hotel room where he lodged. Similarly, it was reported that closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras allegedly hidden in Air Conditioners were discovered in rooms at the Pavillion Hotel, Ayepe, in the Odogbolu area of Ogun state.

Hotel Security Tips

  1. Before choosing a hotel, do some research and due diligence, probably online. Find out what kind of crime is common in that area? Is there a terrorist or kidnapping threat?  You may wish to use the street view functionality of Google Maps — if available — to get a visual sense of the hotel location.
  2. Choosing hotel room/Floor. For a high rise building, choose a room between the second and fourth floors (never the top floor), furthest away from the side of the lobby. The ground floor is too easy to access. Most fire truck ladders can reach up to the second, third and even fourth floors.
  3. Don't be gender-specific when reserving a room. Provide only your first initial and last name.
  4. Ascertain if there's deployment of armed security operatives or other government security agents in the hotel especially at night.
  5. Do well to study the hotel's layout, find exits or escape routes, count doors to stairways, identify the nearest emergency exit and staircase upon arrival at a hotel.
  6. When you arrive at the hotel, call to inform a family member or friends or colleagues about the hotel you are lodging in. Give them the name and address of the hotel.
  7.  It is advisable to pay for hotel reservation with bank/online transfer and not cash. This serves as an evidence that you lodged or paid for the hotel accommodation. Avoid any hotel that insists on cash payments and would not accept direct bank-facilities transaction. Scan the payment receipt and send to a family member, friend, or colleague.
  8. Always carry a personal flashlight or touch light (your phone's light can be useful too) should you lose power in an unfamiliar.
  9. Desist from discussing your business or travel plans and movements during your stay in a hotel, especially in public areas where people may eavesdrop your conversation. Also, do not discuss your room number while standing in the lobby (or anywhere).
  10. If someone knocks on your door claiming to be hotel staff and you haven’t requested room service, contact (call) the front desk before opening the door to verify the person is indeed a hotel employee.
  11. Always make your hotel room appear to be occupied by leaving the television or radio on. You may also wish to put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door.
  12. While in the room, do a physical inspection, scan the room, the wardrobe, windows, mattress to be sure that nothing, including a secret CCTV camera is hidden inside a fake smoke detector, alarm clock, or picture frame, AC power adapter, Alarm sensor, Telephone Desk, standing lamp, Power outlet, Wall clock, Mirror, Alarm clock, Soap dish, Toothbrush holder, Tissue boxes, DVD player or other set-top boxes. Detecting a Hidden Camera Lens. All cameras have a lens, and all lenses reflect light to some degree. One of the easiest checks for a hidden camera is to close the curtains, turn the lights off, and use your phone’s flashlight to look for telltale reflections where they shouldn’t be. Since light needs to hit the lens at the right angle to be reflected back to you, you’ll need to scan the room slowly, and shine the light from different spots. Note that this approach won’t work for a camera that’s hidden inside a mirror, or anything else with a highly-reflective surface. Detecting Infrared Light from Hidden Cameras. It is possible to use your phone to detect a hidden camera via the infrared light it emits. Turn off the lights, put your phone into selfie mode. Now, point a normal TV remote at the front camera, and push any of the remote’s buttons. If a small, bright light appears on your phone screen when the button is pushed, you’re good to go. There are various smartphone apps that can help you detect hidden cameras such as Hidden Spy Camera Detector, Radarbot, Detectify, Glint Finder, Hidden Device Detector, Ghost Camera Finder, to scan for frequencies used by recording equipment.
  13. Keep the door locked as soon as you enter your hotel room. A no-brainer, but it can be easy to forget. Always use the deadbolt and security chain regardless of how excessive it may seem.
  14. Don't open the door to strangers. It may be less obvious, however, if the stranger claims to be a hotel employee. If you're not expecting anyone, call the front desk to verify. When you do open the door, keep the security chain engaged until you're absolutely certain.
  15. During your stay in the hotel especially if you would be using the hotel’s Wi-Fi, use a VPN (VIRTUAL PRIVACY NETWORK). Otherwise just about anyone can access all the information on your device. Activating a VPN provides more security for your devices and the information stored there. Most computer security companies like Norton have VPN options.
  16. When leaving the hotel, inform a family member, a friend, or a colleague that you are about to check out. Walk with confidence and not like someone who doesn’t know his/her way around.
  17. Remain vigilant and situationally aware!

©Don Okereke is a security analyst, thought leader, writer, active citizen and ex-serviceman. He’s a passionate advocate for cyber/security awareness.

November 24, 2021

Monday, 14 June 2021

Monday, 12 April 2021

Gunmen Abduct Catholic Priest in Imo State

Gunmen reportedly abducted a Catholic Priest, Rev. Prof. Izu Marcell Onyeocha at Ihube Community in Okigwe Local Government Area of Imo State.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Boko Haram Attacks Borno Community, Kill Four, Burn United Nations Facilities

No fewer than four people, including soldiers were reportedly killed on Saturday evening as suspected members of ISWAP, a faction of the Boko Haram, attacked Damasak, a border community in Borno State, security sources and witnesses said.

Monday, 5 April 2021

UPDATED: Security Trend Analysis: Is Insurgency 2.0 Fermenting In Nigeria?

Preamble: At the risk of painting a gloomy picture, I dare submit that the tempo of social tension, political entropy, armed conflict, wanton bloodletting, ungoverned spaces, and the centrifugal forces at play in Nigeria is to say the least, ramping up every day and very disturbing. Not to be outdone, Nigeria is increasingly ticking all the right boxes of a fragile state and upping the misery index. To be sure, Nigeria increased from 94.4 index in 2006 to 97.27 index in 2020. Lest I forget, it's not all gloomy, Nigeria constructed a $1.95 billion railway from Kano state into Maradi, Niger Republic. Nigeria's Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi confirmed that he personally begged the Republic of Niger to allow Nigeria to link them with the railway. Moving on…Aforesaid upshots in Nigeria are fueled by widening gap in social cohesion, entrenched marginalization, patent nepotism, corruption, inequality, injustice, uncurbed proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and attendant quest for the Balkanization of the country by sundry self-determination groups.

Monday, 15 March 2021

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Jihadists Attack United Nations Base in Nigeria, Trapping 25 Aid Workers

Jihadists linked to the Islamic State reportedly attacked a UN base and overrun a humanitarian hub in northeastern Nigeria, trapping 25 aid workers, security and humanitarian sources said.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

President Buhari Unveils Nigeria National Cybersecurity Policy And Strategy 2021

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, observed that the growth and development of the internet have caused a rise in the threats posed by cybercriminals, online financial fraudsters and cyber terrorists who he said are causing apprehension in the country.

Saturday, 28 November 2020

1,570 Nigerians Kidnapped In 11 Months, N311 million Paid in Ransom

Investigation reveals that no fewer than 1,570 Nigerians were reportedly kidnapped between January and November 2020 in 366 reported cases.

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

#EndSARS Campaign: A Metaphor For Better Policing System

The #EndSARS & #EndPoliceBrutality campaign has continued to dominate public space following atrocities committed by some bad eggs in the Nigeria Police Force. These atrocities, no doubt attained a high level of notoriety in recent times and equally generated a huge public outcry resulting in nationwide protests and condemnations being conferred on the NPF. 

Monday, 28 September 2020

As Nigeria Scrambles For K St in The United States

One of the most often used criticisms in American Politics over the most recent election cycles has been the perceived influence of the lobbyists on K St and their influence on Capitol Hill.  Most of the concern has focused on Domestic Legislation including what are known as pet projects or pork.

There is another facet of K. St that should be scrutinized. Various actors from overseas have sought a voice in Washington for decades.  This is true regardless whether or not it’s a Government dealing with an Insurgency or vice versa. Both sides have sought champions here in Washington, More often than not the focus has been on which Member of Congress they should reach out to.

One nation that falls under this criteria and seems to be lurching along from crisis to crisis is Nigeria.  Most analysts became aware of Nigerian efforts after the 2019 Presidential Polls in the country. The defeated candidate Atiku Abubakar reached a deal with the Firm Fein & DelVallle PLLC to assist him with challenging the results to claim that he was the authentic President of Nigeria. 

The issue of elections in Nigeria is proving to be a potential source of income for lobbyists. The webpage for CLS Strategies that lists their International clients states that the PDP (People’s Democratic Party) is one of their international partners. This partnership should be closely monitored for a recent move by Facebook. A recent report found that this firm set up fake social media profiles in three Latin American Countries in an effort to disrupt the Venezuelan Elections.  If this action was discovered in this Hemisphere it shudders to think what operations that CLS Strategies will be willing to undertake in support of this client. 

Another firm that the PDP retained is the Washington office of Ballard Strategies. The deal with the Florida based firm came into being back in 2018 with the firm providing support for the PDP for the 2019 elections as well. .

It should be noticed that it is not just established political parties in Nigeria that have reached out to K St for representation but fringe elements and separatists as well. One such entity is IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) which is considered to be a terrorist group by the Nigerian Government. In an effort to improve its image the group has contacted Mercury Public Affairs to represent them here in Washington. 

The group is serious about how they want their image to be presented in Washington. On Social Media the group has been active in offering a safe haven for Nigeria’s suffering Christian Community on various social media platforms. When President Trump met with President Buhari in 2018 this topic was raised by the US President.  Promoting this subject is thought to be a way to ensure that their voice is heard here in Washington. It is way too early to determine whether or not this will bear fruit, but this cannot be ignored by Nigeria watchers. 

In another interesting twist Mercury has denied that it was lobbying for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in her effort to be head of the WTO (World Trade Organization earlier this year. It should be noted that on June 5th of this year that Mercury Public Affairs registered with Congress to represent Ms. Okonjo-Iweala in both Houses of Congress.

Biafra is not the only flashpoint within Nigeria that has garnered attention on K St. The Governor of Kaduna State Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai had found a voice on K St back in 2007. He was represented by KRL International. Why is this important?  Over the last several months there has been violence in the southern part of the state. According to Human Rights Watch over 170 were killed in the first seven months of the year. The situation has led the local citizens to set up their own patrols. It is not clear what the current status of this relationship currently is but Kaduna is becoming an area of concern.

The situation in Nigeria remains fluid and at certain instances rapidly moving. It appears on the surface that the relationship with Washington is paramount and they desire to make sure that their voices are heard on the Potomac.  This is irregardless whether or not they want to gain political power or even to form their own state. The other side of this coin is the willingness by some groups on K St that have the motive of providing any service to any client to earn the dollar. This is a most interesting partnership.

 Written by: Scott Morgan

Gunmen Abduct Catholic Priest in Delta State, South South Nigeria For Second Time

Gunmen suspected to be herdsmen reportedly kidnapped Rev. Fr. Jude Onyebadi from his farm on the Isele-Uku/Issele-Mkpetime Road in the Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State. 

The victim, a Catholic priest, was kidnapped on his farm about two years ago and released a few days after.

Fr. Onyebadi, who is the resident priest at the Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Issele-Azagba, a neighbouring village, was said to have been taken into the bush alongside three of his workers.

The four victims were reportedly kidnapped around 7pm on Saturday but the three workers were set free after five hours, while the priest was being held incommunicado.

Community sources told our correspondent that a search party organised by the family members, in conjunction with local vigilante groups, had not achieved the desired result.

He said, “The local government vigilante groups are still combing the bush as of Sunday afternoon to rescue the priest.

“Since Saturday night, the abductors have not established any contact with the family or the Catholic Diocese of Issele-Uku to state their demands.”

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya, confirmed the abduction of the priest on Sunday.

“The command has already activated its rescue operation with the intention of freeing the cleric unhurt and possibly apprehending the culprits,” Onovwakpoyeya said.

Culled from: Punch Newspaper

Monday, 7 September 2020

United States Support To Security Sector Reform in Fragile States


It is hard to imagine a comprehensive accounting of state fragility or conflict that does not focus on the role of security institutions and armed actors. The origins and nature of “fragility” in any society relate directly to how that society is organized to control and limit violence through formal and informal channels and institutions, including security institutions.1 

Saturday, 29 August 2020

US Army Engineers Corps To Construct A-29 Super Tucano Air Base In Nigeria

The construction of a new facilities to support an A-29 Super Tucano wing at an air base in Nigeria, is set to start after the Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate’s Foreign Military Sales Construction Division awarded a $36.1 million contract to the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District.