. Offer personal safety tips to travelers, hotel lodgers
Two security experts, Chief Executive Officer, Background Check International (BCI), Kola Olugbodi and National Security policy analyst, Christopher Orji, have warned of imminent increase in the rate of Kidnap and robbery as Christmas and New Year celebrations draw near.
The experts, who said this at the weekly e-Discourse organised by leading Pan-Africa forum, Platforms Africa, also expressed concerns over the recent surge in ritual killings in hotels, as they offer personal security tips to lodgers and travellers during the Yuletide and beyond.
Platforms Africa is an e-Community of intellectuals, policy moulders and opinion leaders in the continent.
A press release signed by Adeola Yusuf, Team Lead, Platforms Africa, organisers of the event, quoted Olugbodi, Africa’s leading background check expert, to have picked holes in the belief by an average African that it is only those who are well to do in the society that criminals target.
“Kidnappers will pick a so called ordinary man, knowing that his extended family, friends, associates and even his community members would all rally together to pay N20 million ransom.
“Things have seriously changed these days. Insecurity has become an everyday affair. Yeah, I know that armed robbery incidence increases during the Christmas season because the guys that have plans to go spend the season in their country homes are the main targets.
“But the scenario now is that armed robbers have upgraded to kidnapping. They can make a whole year’s ‘gain’ by just picking a whole bus load of passengers.
“An average African is religious and so philosophical. So we don’t pay so much attention to personal security but the prevalent criminal situations in our countries have proved that those situations now happen randomly,” he said at the event moderated by Nairobi, Kenya-based veteran journalist, Kurian Musa.
On his part, Comrade Christopher Oji, an ex-president of the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN), said, “Crime rate is always on the rise between September and December because of pressure from family members.”
Orji added that in order not to be seen as failures, people commit crimes more when Christmas and New Year approach.
“There is pressure from relatives. They don’t care how you make it but just get the money and you will be applauded. Not many have the ability to resist family pressure.
“How can a man whose salary for one year is not up to a million naira be driving a car worth NGN5 million. The most annoying thing is that his wife or parents know that he shouldn’t be driving a car of that magnitude, yet, nobody questions his source of wealth.
“How about a man who has no means of livelihood yet he is welcomed home when he comes with large amount of money? He may even be given a chieftaincy title,” he said, adding that this has made “siblings to kill each other.”
Though the two security experts said that the first thing to do is to report crime to the Police, they offered useful tips on personal security for travellers, lodgers and all Nigerians during the Yuletide and beyond.
Olugbodi said, “Let your family members know your movement. If you will have to put up in a hotel, ensure you tell your loved ones the name and location of the hotel. Do this right at the reception of the hotel, in the presence of the staff and visitors.
“Ritualist activities is now on the increase, hence, do your due diligence upfront on the location you’re going and the hospitality facilities in them.
“Covid has taught us that many things can be accomplished online. We should weigh the possibility of getting some transactions done online as against going physically.”
Continuing, he said, “If you have to stay in a unknown hotel, please do the following:
“Check out the ambience of the hotel. What are the public record and opinion about that hotel? Do some search online or ask it as a question on social media.
“Quickly scan and perceive the type of users of the hotel.”
And, when you are at home, he said, “Be careful of the people you allow into your homes all in the name of house helps, drivers, cooks, gardeners etc.
“Ensure you run very thorough security background check on such personnel.
“If you can afford it, put cameras in your home.
“On the road, don’t tell everyone your moments. Be careful of those you move around with.
“When driving, watch your back very often. Don’t take same route home everytime. Don’t mind that some may be longer.
“Watch for parked cars or following cars before you turn to enter your gate.”