By Adewale Sanyaolu
A security expert and Chief Executive Officer, Background Check International (BCI), Kola Olugbodi, has warned of an imminent increase in the rate of Kidnap and robbery as Christmas and New Year celebrations draw near.
Olugbodi, who said this at the weekly e-Discourse organised by the leading Pan-Africa forum, Platforms Africa, also expressed concerns over the recent surge in ritual killings in hotels, as he offered personal security tips to lodgers and travellers during the Yuletide and beyond.
Platforms Africa is an e-Community of intellectuals, policy moulders and opinion leaders in the continent.
A statement by Adeola Yusuf, Team Lead, Platforms Africa, organiser of the event, quoted Olugbodi, Africa’s leading background check expert, to have picked holes in the belief by an average African that it is only those who are well to do in the society that criminals target.
“Kidnappers will pick a so-called ordinary man, knowing that his extended family, friends, associates and even his community members would all rally together to pay N20 million ransom.
“Things have seriously changed these days. Insecurity has become an everyday affair. Yeah, I know that armed robbery incidence increases during the Christmas season because the guys that have plans to go spend the season in their country homes are the main targets.
“But the scenario now is that armed robbers have upgraded to kidnapping. They can make a whole year’s ‘gain’ by just picking a whole busload of passengers.
“An average African is religious and so philosophical. So we don’t pay so much attention to personal security but the prevalent criminal situations in our countries have proved that those situations now happen randomly,” he said at the event moderated by Nairobi, Kenya-based veteran journalist, Kurian Musa.
Though Olugbodi said that the first thing to do is to report crimes to the police, he offered useful tips on personal security for travellers, lodgers and all Nigerians during the Yuletide and beyond.
He said; “Let your family members know your movement. If you will have to put up in a hotel, ensure you tell your loved ones the name and location of the hotel. Do this right at the reception of the hotel, in the presence of the staff and visitors.
“Ritualist activities is now on the increase, hence, do your due diligence upfront on the location you’re going and the hospitality facilities in them.
“Covid has taught us that many things can be accomplished online. We should weigh the possibility of getting some transactions done online as against going physically.”
Continuing, he said; “if you have to stay in an unknown hotel, please do the following:
“Check out the ambience of the hotel. What are the public record and opinions about that hotel? Do some search online or ask it as a question on social media.
“Quickly scan and perceive the type of users of the hotel.”
And, when you are at home, he said, “Be careful of the people you allow into your homes all in the name of house helps, drivers, cooks, gardeners, etc.
“Ensure you run a very thorough security background check on such personnel
“If you can afford it, put cameras in your home.
“On the road, “Don’t tell everyone your moments. Be careful of those you move around with.
“When driving, watch your back very often. Don’t same route home every time. Don’t mind that some may be longer.
“Watch for parked cars or following cars before you turn to enter your gate,” he warned.