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ConnectNigeria_safety_first1 Over the past couple of years, security has become everybody’s business. Gone are the days when we went about our daily lives without a care in the world because there was peace and we trusted the military and paramilitary officials to handle any unrest that may arise. In the world today and in Nigeria particularly, security threats are on the increase and it has become essential for everyone to take their security and that of their neighbour personally and seriously. While we hope and pray for better days, the reality on ground is that Nigeria is in a dismal state of security. This means citizens have to take extra care and be more aware of their environments now more than ever. Just in case you are wondering where to start; the following safety tips will be sure to help. 1. Maintain consciousness of your immediate environment: This is very important. Observe your surroundings wherever it is you are. Look out for things that seem off. In your home, ensure that your environment is illuminated, as this can have a way of keeping intruders away. Trust your guts and if you feel something is unusual, alert the appropriate security personnel and leave the area immediately. Also, avoid keeping late nights or walking alone in strange, deserted areas. 2. Avoid constant routines: Too many people have very easily predictable daily routines. They leave home at the same time every day, take the same routes and return to their homes at about the same time each day, use the same ATM and visit the same club, etc. This could make you an easy prey. Change routes from time to time where you can, stand on the opposite side of the road for a change, go a little earlier and close a little late; anything to offset your routines. If you drive, use your rearview mirror and side mirrors just to ensure that no one is tailing you. These little changes could go a long way and save your life and that of your family. 3. Be frugal with personal information: Some people are quick to divulge private personal information, particularly to strangers. Be careful with whom you share sensitive issues. Some sensitive information is best kept to yourself, especially when it is financial. Be quick to hear and slow to speak. 4. Carry personal defense tools when necessary: This is very important, as you never know when it will come in handy. The most common is the famous pepper spray. In the event that you are attacked, aim for the eye of your attacker while spraying. Kick him (or her as the case may be), this could buy you some time to either run or call for help. 5. Do not go ‘James Bond’ and try to save the day: In the event that you are unarmed, do not try to play James Bond by attempting to defend yourself or be smart. You could be risking your life. Relinquish all valuables once asked and do not hand them over to your assailant; throw them away from yourself. Chances are that he is more interested in the item(s) than he is in you. If the coast is clear, you could run off once he makes a go for the item(s). 6. Live simply and socialize smartly: Avoid lifestyles that are too loud and draw unnecessary attention. Live simply and low key as much as possible. Be smart in your socializing; it is not every party or gathering that you should attend and it is not every detail that you should share on social media sites. People have lost their lives just because they gave out a little too much on social media. When it comes to the issue of security, you can never be too careful. Putting these tips into practice can get you started. You could also devise your own techniques and ways more suited to you in order to keep you and your family where applicable, safe and secure.

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This article was first published on 20th July 2014

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