Terrorism: Expert Gives Tips On How To Be Security Conscious


It was reported recently that the duo of former Nigeria’s vice president, Atiku Abubakar and Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamdio enjoined Nigerians to defend themselves against Boko Haram attacks.

Award winning security expert with over 18 years experience, Femi Ajayi reacted to the submission and gave tips on how to be security conscious.


In psychology there is a natural fight or flee response to danger by human beings which indicates a physiological reaction that occurs in the presence of something that is terrifying, either mentally or physically. Usually when we are pushed to the wall and there is no other means of escape, the natural tendency is to confront the danger no matter how insurmountable that danger may appear. I believe it is in that context that the Emir of Kano and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar made those comments.

In my opinion, the advice they have given is spot on under the circumstances. As it were, the citizens are left with no choice than to confront the BH Islamists. It is better to die fighting than to be a sitting duck.

Having said that, Nigerians need to understand that the number one way we can protect ourselves and others from BH and their IED attacks is to be alert to our immediate surroundings. It is an effective tool if individuals are alert for, and to report, anything that is out of the ordinary in their daily routine.

Examples include bags or boxes in unusual places, unusual smells, and suspicious behaviors such as someone dressed in a heavy coat, cloth or overflowing attire that does not match the surrounding or weather.

If you come across anything suspicious, the maxim is ”If you see it, say it”. Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine when to report something suspicious; however people most familiar with a given environment are in the best position to determine whether or not something is out of the ordinary.

Use common sense, and follow these guidelines:
• Trust your instincts; if something feels wrong, don’t ignore it.
• Do not assume that someone else has already reported it.
• Be identification conscious
• Call local authorities, if you think something is wrong
• Keep your distance from a suspicious package—do not approach or tamper with it.

I know that sometimes, people may be afraid to provide their names and locations when making a report but they must be ready to provide a description of what they think is suspicious and the time they saw or experienced it. The National Emergency Number is 112.

For the security agencies, they should establish a coordinated system of security awareness and let the generality of people be aware of what to do and who or where to call if people encounter anything suspicious. The security agencies can consider the template being used to create awareness for Ebola virus.

Those of us who are not directly in the line of fire in the volatile locations are better placed to utilize the preventive measures highlighted above. Those directly in the line of fire, who are being slaughtered everyday, should adopt in addition, a more offensive measures by organizing themselves into a fighting counterforce and first line of defense.

In every neighborhood, street or village, every able bodied man, and if possible woman should be a member of the local vigilante. I’m aware that this is already being done, but they need to step this up with the help of the security agencies who should assist them to create the structure needed to effectively do this. There is nothing wrong in absorbing those of them that have done very well into the formal security system in the country, provided measures are in place to prevent BH sympathizers from taking advantage.

Let me state that at the end of the day that, we should not forget that it is the core duty of the security agencies to secure the citizenry. Some of the extremely difficult measures recommended above are desperate measures with their own long term downsides. For instance, local vigilante groups with firearms and skills gained from war experience can become uncontrollable and constitute another source of security risk in their localities overtime.

Our best is for the security agencies; Military, Police, SSS to clean up their acts and be more proactive in their crime preventive and curtailment strategies.

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