How to avoid being kidnapped – Security expert
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The President, Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, has advised Nigerians to increase their security alertness in the face of rising incidence of kidnapping.
Ekhomu, in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, stated that recent incidents have shown that “kidnapping is back in full force,” therefore, people ought to become more alert and discerning to protect themselves from being kidnapped.
He said, “Government needs to do more in terms of detecting and punishing kidnappers, such that the severity of the punishment would deter others from becoming engaged. What happens now is they kidnap people, get their ransom money and enjoy it. They have become big men. If people are punished, may be by losing their lives, they would conclude that it is not worth it.
“There must be enforcement and punishment that can deter people. The criminal justice system must work. The reason kidnapping is lucrative in Nigeria is impunity; people think they can do it, get away with the crime and enjoy their loot. No criminal enterprise is going to go away when it’s lucrative. It’s the fear of punishment that keeps people from crime.”
Giving tips on how people can prevent themselves from being kidnapped, Ekhomu, who is the Chairman, School of Management and Security, said the most important thing was realising that there was the risk of being kidnapped.
He said, “We need to know that these risks are there and that the bad guys are seizing people. We need to be wary as individuals. When people have this euphoric attitude that nothing can happen, that is in fact when they become victims. People should just be a little cautious these days.
An isolated target is easier to pick up. It is better for people to be strengthened by being in groups. Hostage takers would have to work harder to kidnap members of a group, than to kidnap an individual.”
Ekhomu added that Nigerians can learn from the kidnapping of human rights lawyer, Mr. Mike Ozekhome, where the kidnappers mounted a roadblock, which resulted in a pile of cars on the road.
He said, “From any distance, you can see at least 200 or 300 metres down the road. When you see cars piled up like that on the road and they seem to be in distress with no obvious police presence, you should turn around.
“Not many big men really care to train their drivers in defensive or security driving. Your driver has to learn this to enable him to save you when there is an incident. Also everyone should know save havens in their area, like police stations, army barracks and places you can run to when you are in distress.”
He added that it was not wise to drive straight into ones residence when one notice a reasonable number of strangers, especially young men, gathered near the entrance of the person’s house.
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