By Chris Onuoha

Hassan Stan-Labo (retd), is a security consultant. The MD/CEO of Hakes and Partners speaks on tips to avoid being a victim of highway kidnappers and bandits.

First and foremost, if you have to travel, you are expected to come out with travel plans or route plans. In your plans, you must try to make sure you avoid all these areas that have got the hot spots if it is avoidable. But if it is not avoidable, you must ensure that there is no stopping on the way or at any crowd incident spot which you should come across. You have to move on. Avoid unnecessary stoppages  along the way. If you are travelling with your kids, make necessary arrangements for them. Carry all their necessary needs like sweets, biscuits or whatever, so that they don’t make you stop on the way.

Your vehicle windows and doors must at all times be wound up. Watch out for vehicles that may be trailing after you. If you notice such, slow and stop at any safe haven. By safe haven, I mean places like police check-points, and so on. When the vehicle passes you, you could continue your journey. But if you want to draw police attention, you can do so immediately for them to stop the vehicle. Avoid lonely routes as much as possible and what we also call dry routes. Dry routes are when you realise that you are the only vehicle on that road. When you cannot notice any vehicle both incoming and behind, you have to be very suspicious.

Maintain a low profile when you have to pass this type of routes. Don’t try driving  in  very expensive cars. As much as possible, you know these guys that are into kidnapping or banditry are after maximizing their profits. When you come in  all these flamboyant cars, they say, ‘Oh, these are the people we make billions with. Avoid ostentatious display. Avoid making a particular route a routine. If so, look for an alternative route and take it a time. Avoid very early and late movements; starting your trip by and coming back late by or more. That’s very dangerous. Keep information on your trips confidential. Let it be on the need to know only. And if you are walking on foot, always make sure you are walking with a partner. And of course, as an adult, you should not drop your instinct except for self development should have attained a level years.

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Never be distracted by headphones, telephones or others. If you are in a high risk area, never use those things, of course how can you hear if something is happening around when you are  busy either listening to the news or enjoying music. Exercise caution when entering or leaving your car in such area. Do not mark you car keys with your car number or address. Avoid these as much as possible. Keep your spare keys away. If it is  avoidable not to go by road and you can afford to go by air, better. If you can’t go by air, then you have to be very cautious along these routes. These are some of the basic tips we need to adhere to.

Flat tyre

As much as possible, keep moving on till you get to a safe place. I have suffered what you are saying now and I have lost two good tyres completely, because I didn’t want to stop when it happened and I kept moving on. I was lucky to reach a police check-point, by then I discovered I had lost two tyres. You have to keep safe. The tyres can go and, at least, let you be safe, first and foremost.


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