Keeping safe, avoiding mob actions
From across the country, reports abound of vigilante groups manhandling or even killing innocent people suspected to be criminals, because they could not properly identify themselves at the time they were accosted.
Many have also suffered untold hardship, including being detained for hours at some illegal cells until the Police come to their rescue. Mungo Irohe, a security expert, says at a time like this where mob action is getting increasingly entrenched in the society, there is need for every one to carry identification cards, which he stressed could save one from untimely death via jungle justice.
According to him, such documents or identification cards should carry passport –sized photographs, information including name, address, occupation, address of the next of kin, and must be duly signed by the issuer.
He further disclosed that in situations where the identification card is issued by a company, they should bear the company’s name and logo, place of operation, name of the bearer and phone numbers.
For those that are self-employed, Irohe says such documents may not be enough to bail one out of dire situations, since according to him, “anybody can print business cards and claim to be one thing or the other. While business cards remain important, company-issued identity cards carry some weight and add credence to the card holder’s claims, as the phone numbers or other such information on them could be used to authentic one’s claim.
“Company identity cards have vital information such as the bearer’s passport, signature, staff number, and in some rare cases, date engaged in the company. All these go a long way to properly identify an individual,” he said.
Corroborating Irohe submission, Segun Ademuyi, a legal practitioner said many people, especially those in crime-prone areas like Ikorodu in Lagos State and other suburbs live in fear, and so would do anything to protect themselves.
He therefore advised those visiting such areas to put their would-be host on notice, especially if they are not conversant with the environment or location they are headed to avoid being mistaken for criminals.
“Some people are mistaken for thieves because they are found wandering at odd times. So, if people find it difficult to locate the address of where they are headed, they should immediately contact their host to avoid embarrassment.
“Also, when challenged anywhere by these vigilante groups, the first thing to do is to boldly state your identity in good time before being mistaken and eventually assaulted,” he said.
Ademuyi cautioned people, who are fond of not disclosing their whereabouts, as they leave home to desist from such lifestyle, as this could put them in trouble.
He said: “Always disclose where you are going to people around you. One of the benefits is that in times of danger, they could be called to find out if they know you, or, if you are at a particular place; this could help save lives.
“Let people know where you are. If you are stranded on the way, call your home and tell them the situation of things. This is not weakness, but a way of protecting oneself and giving loved ones respite that all is well with you,” he said.
For Michael Duru, a security expert, with this, it becomes a necessity for people to be security conscious, not only to protect property, but to defend oneself and others. He stated adding that minute details, like saving one’s wife’s telephone number in the mobile phone as “My Wife” or one’s brother as “my brother” could save the day once such people are contacted.
He added that calling a third party that is not at the scene to identify a suspect could make the difference between life and death, as vigilantes would always go through their suspect’s mobile phone to call and find out some details about them.
Duru also cautioned those, who go about with concealed firearms that are not licensed, or other dangerous weapons like daggers, short swords and knives to desist, as it would take the Grace of God to save them from being lynched by mobsters.
The security coordinator also cautioned people against associating with those, whose character they cannot vouch for, saying some innocent people have lost their lives through this avenue.
“So, people should avoid acts and associations that could put them in bad light. Be mindful of the company you keep, including long lost friends, who could have formed bad habits within the period of their absence. People should also learn how to examine the people they call friends …,” he said.