With increasing incidents of terrorism, kidnapping, hostage taking, assassination, robbery and other types of violence crimes, our personal security is of extreme importance and is no longer an issue of if or if not. Rising security challenges facing Nigeria and Nigerians have necessitated everyone taking his personal security seriously.
What is Personal Security?
Personal security refers to all deliberate measures, planned activities undertaken and systematic technology put in place by an individual to eliminate threats, creates and sustains a conducive, safe and secure environment in order to pursue his legitimate endeavours without fear, danger, or injury. It is a state of an individual being safe, secure and free from crime or fear of crime at home, at work, on the road, while travelling etc.
Importance of Personal Security
Personal involvement is the hallmark of a successful personal security programme. The effectiveness of any personal security programme ultimately depends on the extent to which the individual is willing to use the security measures in place. It is not enough to memorize personal security hints or tips word for word, without using them. A person’s lifestyle contributes to the vulnerability of the person and influences the effectiveness of steps taken to reduce such vulnerability. Personal security demands that you are responsible for your own protection. It ensures that everyone takes personal responsibility for his own security. You must take ownership of every situation you encounter. Good personal security is a continuous and ongoing proportionately to the level of commitment of the person concern. The first and chief security officer in all your endeavours is you.
Progress Increases Vulnerability
The higher you go in life the more vulnerable you become but the more security consciousness or awareness you acquire, the less victim you become. Make security your daily affairs. It prolongs life. It sustains assets. It guarantees happiness!
Reduce Opportunity of Victimization – the Story of Mr. Okolaa Ngube
The story of Mr. Okolaa Ngube is necessary to drive home the importance of personal security. On December 15, 2009 at about 9.03pm, Mr. Ngube and his family were watching a home video in their sitting room when they were suddenly accosted by six fierce-looking well dressed men. Mr. Ngube’s first remark was more of astonishment than apprehension. But, he mustered courage to ask the intruders, “Who are you? How did you get in?”
One of the stranger guests gently but firmly answered, “We are revenue agents. We entered through the open door, any offence in that Sir?” Without holding his breath, he introduced themselves and their mission to the family head again. “We are federal revenue collectors, we are here to collect our revenue and make sure that all your payments are properly receipted for.” At this juncture, tension and uncertainty have enveloped the nerves of the entire household. Meanwhile, the other five visitors have position themselves strategically leaving only the team leader and Ngube to enjoy the dialogue of death.
“Which revenue do you want from me?” Ngube asked with an unsteady voice.
“We want all the Euro, Pounds and Dollars in this house. We want all the gold, bangles, wrist watches, necklaces, cell phones; because I can see you have three beautiful daughters; and finally the naira, all. Then we will issue you receipt or do you prefer the receipt first?”
“No…but, sir…I don’t have Euro, pounds or dollars in this house. This is all I have; you can search everywhere, I am a salary earner. I don’t use gold or necklace neither do my family members use them. We are Christians, please take everything but don’t hurt anybody. God bless you”.
How much do you have there?” The leader cracked with a thunderous and fearful voice.
“N25, 550, sir”
“Good! Mkpata! Killer! Serpent! Ok!”
“Pleaseeeeooooooooooooooooo”, they all chorused.
“Give them receipt”, the leader ordered.
And in a twinkle of an eye, three of Ngube’s daughters were ganged raped. The younger son was slaughtered in cold blood whilst the eldest son was made to sleep with the mother in the presence of the father who stood looking so helpless.
Then the drama was over and the pains began. The robbers could not gain access to the other flat in the building because it was securedly locked and fortified with security doors.
Certain minor precautions we are admonished to take, yet we trivialize them are the same piece of advice that may save our lives, protect our assets and prevent embarrassments. Personal security tips are inexhaustible and develop as antidotes with time and sophistication. However, these few admonitions may worth the time, effort, and other costs of acquiring the knowledge and putting it into practice someday, sometimes, somehow:
Ø Be conscious of the security situation within your immediate environment.
Ø Know the characters living around you.
Ø Understand and always assess your vulnerability to attacks.
Ø Be aware of the proximity of any law enforcement agencies.
Various Problems of Personal Security
The problems of personal security vary greatly with each individual’s case in terms of potential hazards, threats, exposure and opportunity of targeting and attack. It is therefore difficult to give definite advice to cover all situations in which personal security is threatened. Besides, personal security precautions cannot be exhaustive.
Personal Security Hints
The following are guides designed to help in increasing the awareness of the public in their day-to-day activities. By knowing these few personal security tips and putting them in to practice it will certainly improve your security consciousness and boost your personal protection.
Ø Be sensitive to your environment. Know what is normal and what is abnormal.
Ø Your neighbourhood should be of concern to you. Rooms in neighbouring buildings overlooking any of your rooms or surroundings should attract your attention.
Ø Be observant when you leave home or work. Always look for the unusual.
Ø Be familiar with the makes and models of vehicles; memorize plate numbers.
Ø Watch for patterns of cars pulling out when you pass.
Ø Do not be predictable. Stagger your schedule. Change your route regularly
Ø Know the choke points and safe havens on your regular routes.
Ø Maintain a positive, quiet and low profile attitude as opposed to flamboyant behavior. Dress down. Do not flash money or jewelry.
Ø Let your itinerary be known to a reliable member of your household only. Your household should not disclose information of your whereabouts to anybody.
Ø Do not keep late nights and beware of bad company.
Ø Avoid lonely spots for your relaxation and do not walk in isolated areas. Always look back constantly to observe who may be following you.
Ø It is advisable to keep to well-lit streets wherever possible. Stay away from blue-light districts, cheap and unsecured bars and parks at night.
Ø Be careful while giving a lift to unknown persons, as it can be very dangerous.
Ø Always search your vehicle after dropping passengers to ensure that incriminating items are not left behind in your vehicle.
Ø Carry your wallet in your trouser side pocket rather than the back pocket, to make it difficult for a thief to remove without your knowledge.
Ø If you notice one face or car following you for a long time, stop and see whether the follower would stop, walk or drive past.
Ø If you are accosted by unknown persons, or a pursuing suspicious car, change direction or head for a safe zone for assistance.
Ø When travelling use licensed cabs, stay in good hotels and eat at good restaurants.
Ø Do not leave your drinks unattended in the midst of friends and foes, it can be harmful.
Ø Be very conscious when accompanying an associate to unknown destination to avoid being lured.
Ø The use of personal alarm/minder to draw attention if attacked is advisable.
Ø Always feel the content of your mails before opening. If in doubt, seek security advice.
Ø Discourage people from visiting you at odd hours unless it is absolutely necessary.
Ø Keep your future visitors/appointments to the barest minimum. Do not publicize your movements.
Ø Do not accept gifts from unknown persons or where you do not know the source of such gift.
Ø Keep what you know under your hat.
Ø Never trust your shadow, let alone discussing official secrets with unauthorized persons.
Ø Avoid carrying the original documents of your vehicle. Photocopies are preferable.
Ø Avoid entering a cab that has more than two (2) passengers.
Ø Avoid travelling with huge amount of money inside your car. Keep only enough cash at home.
Ø When watching television or listening to the radio or entertaining guests especially at night, ensure all windows and doors are securely locked.
Ø Mark all important equipment for easy identification.
Ø If the key to any door, sideboard, wardrobe, locker, and drawer is lost, replace the lock immediately.
Ø Do not leave your keys carelessly or send them through unreliable person to your household. Keys can be duplicated in minutes.
Ø Screen domestic staff properly. Brief them on visitor control, door management, suspicious persons and unusual activities identifications, telephone answering procedures, and admittance of maintenance men to the residence. Their awareness of emergency telephone numbers is vital. Domestic employees can make or mar your personal security
Ø Always keep vehicle doors locked while driving. Do not lower windows more than two or three inches, particularly while passing through unsafe or unknown areas.
Ø Be extremely cautious about stopping to help a distress person or motorist. Follow your instinct. If you must, stay in your car and roll down your window two or three inches; do not turn off the engine and be prepared to drive off as soon as you notice foul play.
Ø Always wear your seat belt. It protects life and helps you maintain control of your vehicle during evasive driving.
Ø Remove any object that can aid intruder into your house or premises such as ladder, hammer, etc.
Ø Be mindful of that business with promise of large or abnormal profit. It could be hoax.
Ø Be wary of meter readers, salesmen, telephone technicians and other self profess service providers, they may robbers studying the environment in disguise. Identify them properly.
Ø Never volunteer your name, address, or telephone numbers (or that of any other person) to unknown individuals over the telephone, whatever the circumstances.
An important aspect of threat to personal security that is worth mentioning here is armed robbery. Armed robbery is an unlawful taking or attempted taking of property that is in the immediate possession of another by the use of force or threatened use of a deadly or dangerous weapon. This confrontation can arise both at home and on the road. Anybody can become a victim no matter how prepared. The following precautions are necessary to avoid fatality when faced with sudden deadly confrontation.
v Do not try to escape.
v Do not be aggressive.
v Do not jeopardize your life in defence of your money or property.
v In case of sudden attack, do not play the hero; be calm and comply with your captors’ directives.
v Do not look at their faces as they may think that you want to know their identity. Their reaction could be fatal.es of mistaken identity.
v Identify yourself, if necessary, as hired assassins have been known to kill in cases of mistaken identity.
v If they try to take your car or valuable at gun point, give it up. Your life is more important than your car or other assets.
ConclusionThese simple tips are intended to raise the level of personal security awareness. The objective is for individuals to become the chief resources of their own personal protection.