Safety in public places is on you

Firstly, we have to thank God that panicking on terrorism atrocities had reduced, greatly, in this country.

Although, Boko Haram, the most unscrupulous religious sect in the Northern part of Nigeria which is on the run now are still carrying out attacks (to deceive people that they are not demoralised); Nigerians are heaving sighs of relieve – owing to the efforts of the Joint Task Force (JTF), as the present Federal Government Administration of President Muhammad Buhari recently boosted their morale.

While the government continues to flush out the running sect members from their hideouts, stern warnings have been issued (several times) for people to be on the look out, as Boko Haram had changed their strategy to have access to public places, churches, mosques, markets, garages, hospitals and so on – for surprise attacks.

There is also, on the rise, the menace of Fulani Herdsmen, across the states of the federation.

This puts the responsibility to ensure safety of our environments and those of our neighbours not only into government or law enforcement agencies’ hands, but also into the hands of the citizenry. We now have to be abreast of newest tactics employed by this brutal sect so that we can join our strength with the government’s and flush them (all) out from Nigeria.

What are the tactics employed by Boko Haram?

According to Former US ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Sanders, while discussing the armed group’s new tactics on ALJAZEERA, the following are the tactics now being used by Boko Hara:

  1. They’ve moved a little bit from asymmetrical warfare, which the government was actually successfully trying to hinder in December, early January, to these guerrilla attacks that you see happening now – very similar in style to what Al Shabab is doing in East Africa.
  2. Groups like Boko Haram and al-Shabab and others; they have long-range planning. You even see that with ISIL. And certainly the connection now that Boko Haram has with ISIL is something to be concerned about.
  3. Groups like Boko Haram have very long-term strategic planning.

Aside from the ones listed above, there are other strategy that Boko Haram use. These include:

  1. Child soldering.
  2. Reprisal/surprise attacks.
  3. Car bombs.
  4. Public places attacks.
  5. Attacking places of worship.[1]

They also try to give money to bring people into their midst, which once a person joins – will discover that it is a totally different ball game. There is always little chances of getting out alive.

How to prevent public places violent or breakdown of law and order

If we do not provide tips on this aspect, we have not done any good work for you (our readers). We implore you to take note of these tips below:

PROTECTING YOURSELF  

WHILE WALKING:

  • If at all possible, never walk alone.
  • If you cannot find someone to walk with you, contact the Department of Public Safety and Police for an escort.
  • If you absolutely have to walk alone, walk on well-lighted, well-traveled walkways and plan your route ahead of time. Avoid places where attackers might hide (spaces between parked cars, overgrown shrubs, and dark passageways) and areas where you might get cornered. Remember that it is best to walk facing traffic.
  • If anyone follows you, look confident and let him or her know you are aware of their presence. Don’t be polite or engage in conversation.
  • If they continue to follow you, cross the street and/or change directions.
  • If this doesn’t work, walk toward other people or occupied buildings and stay away from places where you might get cornered.
  • If someone in a car follows you and is persistent or becomes obscene, write down the license number and report it to the Department of Public Safety and Police as soon as possible.

WHILE DRIVING:

  • If someone follows you and is persistent or becomes obscene, write down the license number and report it to the appropriate police agency or the Department of Public Safety and Police as soon as possible.
  • If you are trapped in your car, honk your horn in quick short bursts. This will attract people’s attention.
  • Make sure that all of the car doors are locked whenever you leave your vehicle.
  • When returning to your car, have your keys ready so you can enter your car quickly and be aware of your surroundings. If you have to look into a purse or a pocket to find them, it takes extra time and you lose sight of what is around you, which could allow someone to sneak up on you.
  • As you approach your car, look underneath to make sure no one is hiding there. Before you enter your car look to see if all of the doors are locked or if there are any uninvited passengers in the back seat or on the floor. If your door locks are not the way you left them or you see someone inside, leave the area as quickly as possible and notify the Department of Public Safety and Police.
  • Don’t pick up hitchhikers.

ON BUSES AND SUBWAYS:

  • Use well-lighted, busy stops.
  • Stay alert! Don’t doze or daydream.

WORKING LATE:

  • Let someone know where you will be working an when you anticipate returning home. Make sure your family and friends know the work number where you can be reached. Call when you reach your workstation and once again just before leaving to go home.
  • A portable cellular phone is highly recommended. They are effective in emergency situations to give instant access to emergency services.
  • Carry a portable, battery-powered high decibel alarm device or a loud whistle.
  • Carry a small pocket flashlight in your purse or on a key ring, and try to park in well lighted areas and walk along lit walkways.
  • Carry your keys and access cards in your hand when you are approaching the appropriate doors, keeping them readily available. Make sure locked doors close and lock behind you.
  • Keep your workstation or office locked after hours.
  • When returning to your vehicle, watch for suspicious persons nearby and have your keys in your hand. Check the interior of your vehicle before getting in.
  • return to top

PROTECTING YOUR PROPERTY

PREVENTING THEFTS FROM VEHICLES:

  • Install a vehicle alarm or mechanical lock for the steering wheel or ignition.
  • Always lock the doors and leave the windows rolled up.
  • Always activate any auto alarms or anti-theft devices.
  • Keep books, tape players, and other valuables out of sight. Expensive items in full view invite theft even if the vehicle is locked. Don’t advertise the types of equipment you have in your vehicle.
  • Place valuable items in your trunk not the front or back seats.
  • Know the license number, year, make and model of your vehicle.
  • Do not leave money, checkbooks, or credit cards in the vehicle at any time.

PREVENTING BICYCLE THEFT:

  • Keep bicycles locked any time they are unattended with a good “U” type lock. Second choice would be a good casehardened padlock and cable. Be sure the “U” lock or cable goes through the front wheel, rear wheel and the frame, and secure it to a fixed object.
  • Check the lock by pulling on it to make sure it is secure.
  • Use an engraver to place an identifying mark on unpainted major bicycle components.
  • Be sure to retain all evidence of purchase, including the serial number.
  • Be able to identify the bicycle.. not only by its color, but also by its features.
  • Have one or more close up color photographs of the bicycle on hand.
  • Register the bicycle in the Department of Public Safety and Police or County Police registration program.
  • Never loan your bicycle or other property to strangers.
  • Try to avoid parking a bicycle in a deserted or poorly lit area.

PREVENTING THEFTS FROM OFFICES:

  • Don’t become complacent. Be aware! Be attentive.
  • Don’t showcase your office.
  • Close and lock your office when it is not occupied. It only takes seconds for a thief to notice an unoccupied office, walk in and put something in a book bag.
  • Lock your desk, file cabinet, locker, etc.

Don’t leave your purse in that last or bottom drawer of your desk (thieves know it’s there). [2]


[1] ALJAZEERA, Q&A: BOKO HARAM’S CHANGING TACTICS, 11 Feb 2016.

[2] ANNE ARUNDEL COMMUNITY COLLEGE, CRIME PREVENTION TIPS.

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