PERSONAL SECURITY DURING CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS
It is another celebration season and holiday time. The atmosphere is already charged; merry mode pervades the air; preparations are on top gears; but the fears, the fear of insecurity is real. Celebration periods in Nigeria of recent have always left us with tears and blood. If not bomb attacks in Northern Nigeria, it will be violence communal clashes in the Middle Belt or kidnapping in the Niger Delta or robberies in Western Nigeria. The hurry to amass wealth at this period coupled with mass movements of people and properties have always resulted in fatal road mishaps and air crashes which have remained regular features of yuletide seasons in the country.
The general look at the nation’s security level reveals a total breakdown of law and order. Crime rates are too high. Kidnappings have reached a dangerous level; cult clashes have assumed a disturbing dimension; armed robbery is the order of the day; rapping and cyber crimes are common place. The national security situation is a pointer to the near failure of government. This is because the primary purpose of government is welfare and security of its people.
But, are these conditions enough reasons why we should skip Christmas and New Year celebrations in Nigeria? Definitely, NO! We must join the entire world to rejoice and celebrate the Saviour and the Christ. However, in doing this, we must take cognizance of the nation’s security situation. In other words, we must pay greater attention to our personal security.
Personal security stipulates that you are responsible for your own security. The rule is to be conscious of the security situation within your immediate environment; to know the characters living around you, your vulnerability to attacks, and the proximity of any law enforcement agencies etc.
With increased incidents of terrorism, hostage taking, kidnapping, rapping, robbery and bomb attacks our personal security during Christmas and New Year celebrations is of extreme importance.
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.
Personal Security Hints
The problems of personal security during yuletide seasons and holiday times vary greatly with each individual’s case in terms of potential hazards and threats. It is therefore impossible to give definite advice to cover all situations in which personal security is threatened during celebrations and holidays.
However, the following simple guides are designed to reduce the chance of being attacked, and a way out in a worst-case situation.
Ø Be sensitive to your environment. Understand your neighbourhoods. Know what is normal and what is abnormal.
Ø Maintain a positive, quiet and low profile attitude as opposed to flamboyant behavior. Dress down. Do not flash money or jewelry.
Ø Manage your journey this yuletide period properly. Avoid night travelling. Accidents are not only the reoccurring incidents in night travels but armed robbery also abound.
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 Avoid places that are frequent by high-profile individuals, which might be terrorists’ targets.
Ø Avoid overcrowded areas that might be terrorist’s delight, especially if you are celebrating or holidaying in any of the northeastern states of Nigeria.
Ø Do not keep late nights and beware of bad company, especially this period.
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 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 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. Know the company you keep! Criminals never strike without an insider’s connection or information.
Ø The use of personal alarm/minder to draw attention if attacked is advisable.
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. Be mindful of what you eat and where you eat.
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 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 Brief members of your household 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 also 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 intruders 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 self profess service providers; they may be robbers or kidnappers 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.
Ø Be mindful of the fact that there are no real differences between the types of crimes and criminal groups that commit them in the city and in the country-side. If you must celebrate or holiday away from home stay in a safe, secured and good hotel and eat in a good restaurant.
Ø Choose wisely the sporting and recreational activities you engage in during this festive periods as these often turn otherwise happy occasions into tragedy.
Ø Do not drink and drive. Do not drive while drunk. Do not make alcohol the KEY and/or GOAL of your celebration. Avoid “one for the road” persuasion and do not stop for a drink on the way home from leisure activities. The social drinker is one of the leading causes of traffic collisions; and any driver has a greater chance of being killed if driving while intoxicated. Alcohol also plays a role in causing many other types of accidents at home and when participating in various leisure activities. Be warned!
Ø Once again, in terrorists’ prone zone, avoid the main target area or the hot spots.
Ø In case of armed robbery attack, do not be aggressive and never try to escape; be calm and comply with your captors’ directives; do not jeopardize your life in defense of your money or property and do not look at their faces as they may think that you want to know their identity. Their reaction could be fatal.
Our focus here is, briefly, to provide you with crack security countermeasures capable of improving your security consciousness thus enabling you to checkmate and counter looming threats by terrorists and other criminals during this Christmas and New Year celebrations.
If these hints are observed, the problems of victimization and criminalization would have been solved or reduced considerably; and crimes and criminals deterred. It would have also removed opportunities for a criminal to take advantages of you or your property by presenting an unattractive target to the criminal. Its strict observance promises to prevent crimes and guarantee safety and security of the person and property. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!
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