Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Recession, Upsurge in Crimes in Nigeria: 25 Security And Safety Tips For Nigerians

The current recession in Nigeria is anticipated to have a multiplier-effect in criminal activities, cybercrime and general insecurity. Many people have lost their jobs and businesses have collapsed while prices of goods, food stuffs in the market have doubled if not tripled. Beyond this, we also know that so-called ‘’ember months’’ usually witness high crime rates as folks try to ‘meet up’ for the income that was not forthcoming during the last three quarters of the year. Hence, it is not common to hear of random ritual killings, gruesome killings, traffic accidents during this time of the ‘’ember months’’.
Kidnapping for ransom and extortion in Nigeria is undoubtedly under-reported. To give us an idea of the trend in kidnappings in Nigeria, in addition to other high profile and random kidnappings in Nigeria, just a few days ago, the wife of the Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Mrs. Emefiele was reportedly kidnapped and later rescued. Granted that the Nigeria Police and other security agencies are mandated to protect Nigerians and residents, we all know that the high rate of insecurity across the country means the security agencies cannot be everywhere at the same time. In other words, the security agencies are somewhat stretched right now hence private citizens are encouraged to play their own role by been security, safety conscious and alert!



Upsurge in Kidnappings, Ritual Killings

There are reports of rise in kidnappings, ritual killings, disappearances or missing persons in parts of Nigeria. To guard against falling victim,

1.    Please desist from night travel or travelling very early in the morning.
2.    Do not accept food or drink from strangers when on a journey together.
3.    Be careful before boarding a vehicle. Ensure you board a vehicle from designated motor parks. We know things are rough but by all means, avoid lifts or hitchhiking with strangers.
4.    If you enter a vehicle and feel uncomfortable or uneasy, trust your gut instinct and alight immediately.
5.    Be wary of taxis, especially the unmarked ones. If must take a taxi, preferably take the one driven by a relatively elderly fellow. Restraint and responsibility comes with age.
6.    Apart from immediate family members, don’t discuss the itinerary of your journey with strangers or outsiders, even house-helps. This has led to kidnap incidents.
7.    Bike (Okada), Keke NAPEP, otherwise known as ‘’Marwa’ have sent some people to their early graves. If you must take any of these, tell the rider/driver to ride/drive safely.
8.    Beware of traffic robberies which tend to be prevalent in some hotspots. When in a traffic, wind up your glasses and avoid patronizing traffic hawkers, some of them don’t mean well.
9.    Desist from keeping personal effects, gadgets, phones or jewelries where they can be exposed in your vehicle.
10.                       Be very vigilant when you approach so-called ‘roadblocks’ mounted by security agents Policemen, Road Safety (FRSC), LASTMA officers’ et al. Some of them may be criminals masquerading as security agents. Don’t allow them jump into your vehicle.  
11.                       Please ensure you have your driver license and that your vehicle papers are complete (perhaps photocopies) and give to security, road traffic agents with your glass slightly wound down.
12.                       While driving, be observant and sensitive to other drivers around you as some criminals, potential kidnappers are known to intentionally hit your vehicle from behind to make you come down.
13.                       Be careful where you sit in a public bus. Be wary when someone (possibly suspicious) already seated before you wants to adjust so you can go inside and have you sandwiched in-between them.
14.                       Don’t open doors for strangers into your house and don’t stay late in parties or clubs.
15.                       If your generator goes off unexpectedly at night, please don’t rush out to see what happened. It may be bait by criminals.
16.                       Sensitize your neighbours about security issues.
17.                       To know more about kidnapping hotspots and dynamics in Nigeria, read - Nigeria’s Thriving ‘Kidnapping Enterprise’; How To Arrest The Scourge. And for security and safety tips to forestall kidnapping, read - 27 Security, Safety Tips To Prevent, Survive A Kidnapping Incident.

Financial Security and Intelligence:

1.    Avoid making phone calls discussing money issues openly as you don’t know who is listening. Seldom flaunt your expensive gadgets – phones, toys etc. Possibly put your phones are on silence and use a hands free device or earphone to answer your calls when you are in an unsecure environment.
2.    Thank goodness for cashless economy, you don’t really carry so much cash around. Similar to this, don’t also carry all your ATM cards with you. You can have a basic bank account for immediate upkeep and keep the other ATM cards in a safe place at home.
3.    Please, keep your debit card pin codes and tokens safe and don’t let strangers be too close when you punching your pin codes in ATMs. You can politely ask them to give you some space.
4.    Be wary of using ATMs at nights or in secluded/lonely environments. Be careful helping people to withdraw money from ATMs, some may have stolen the debit card and if you assist them, the CCTV camera will pick your face as one of the culprits.
5.    Don’t leave all your money in a single bank account, spread it and set a daily withdrawal limit on your account.
6.    It is possible, doable to clone ATM or debit cards. Personally, I have never used my debit card to shop online in Nigeria and I am not in a hurry to do so. If you must shop online, don’t enter your card details on websites, point of sale, POS, platforms that is not secured. A secured website must have https. The last ‘s’ denotes ‘secure’. There are also POS terminals where if you swipe your card, your card details are automatically extricated. Be careful who you give your ATM card 2to make withdrawals for you. They may return your card but your details are gone.
7.    In this age of ubiquitous sports betting and online/offline gambling platforms, please be careful not to get addicted to it if you can’t avoid it completely.
8.    Finally, the Bible implores us to, ‘’Watch’’ and ‘’Pray’’. Perhaps students of theology will explain to us why ‘’watch’’ precedes ‘’pray’’.

Please promptly report any strange, suspicious movement, activity or security breach in your area to the Police.

Here are the contact details of the various Police PROs across Nigeria:

For Lagos State, the emergency police numbers are: 08063299264, 08127155071, 08079279349, 08065154338, 08127155150, 07035068242 and 08060357795. You can also call 767 and 112; both are Lagos State emergency phone numbers.

Written by:
Don Okereke
(Security Consultant/Adviser, Background Check Specialist, Writer)

Follow me on Twitter: @donokereke