“Below are quick measures you can take as a citizen to keep yourself and others safe in times of civil unrest…”
Civil unrest and agitations are not new occurrences in the Nigerian political scene. The average Nigerian has either witnessed or heard of some sort of agitation or unrest happening in one part of the country or the other.
From the subtle but consistent requests of secession in the South-Eastern region to the current clashes between civilians and the banking institutions due to the current liquidity shortage, everyone seems to be walking on a tightrope.
Civil unrest is a state of agitation, violence, and conflict between different groups of people or political parties in a society. Nigeria is not immune to this phenomenon, and with the current development in the country, it is almost inevitable. In this regard, it is imperative to know what to do when faced with civil unrest.
Civil unrest comes in varying forms. Protests and demonstrations, riots and violence are some of the more common examples. The worst of it all comes in the form of a civil war, as Nigeria experienced between 1967-1970.
Civil unrest can happen anywhere and at any time, so, it’s essential to be prepared and be on the lookout. Below are quick measures you can take as a citizen to keep yourself and others safe in times of civil unrest.
The first and most important thing to do during times of civil unrest is to stay informed. Stay up-to-date with current news and social media reports. Follow credible news sources that provide unbiased and accurate information.
Check your Whatsapp status regularly, Twitter should be your frequent app. Avoid spreading rumours or unverified information that may fuel violence and unrest.
Pro Tip: If possible, download the mobile apps of credible media houses to get live happenings and breaking news on the go.
Plan Your Route
If you have to move around during civil unrest, plan your route. Avoid areas known for protests or violence. Listen to the radio news update to identify alternative routes if needed. Consider using public transportation.
If possible, stay indoors during times of civil unrest. Lock all doors and windows and avoid going outside except when necessary. Keep a charged phone and emergency supplies on hand, such as food, water, and first aid kits.
Pro Tip: Always have an emergency go-bag handy in case the need for immediate evacuation arises.
Stay Away From The Crowd
If you ever find yourself amidst a crowd during civil unrest or any demonstration, move away from the vicinity as quickly as possible. Avoid getting caught up in the violence or becoming a target. Stay calm, and avoid confrontations with anyone.
Pro Tip: Avoid wearing brightly coloured clothes or flashy outfits as they are easier to target.
Have A Clear Communication Plan
Establish a clear communication plan between you and your loved ones. Use social media, messaging apps, or phone calls to stay in touch and check in regularly. Map out a designated meeting place in case you get separated or there is a network outage.
Pro Tip: Whistles and specific tunes should be agreed upon so members of a family or group can find each other in cases of separation in a crowd.
Keep Emergency Numbers Handy
Keep emergency numbers close at hand. Save them on your phone or write them down in a visible place. Know the location of the nearest police station, hospital, and fire department.
Pro Tip: Keep emergency contact numbers on speed dial. This could help you out of sticky situations.
Have A Backup Power Source
In the event of a power outage, it would be wise to have a sort of backup power source. A generator, solar-powered device, or power bank can help keep your lights on or at least, your devices charged. This will allow you to stay connected and informed during times of civil unrest.
Pro Tip: Stick to power sources that are easy to carry around.
Protect Your Property
Protect your property by locking all doors and windows. Install security cameras and alarms if possible. Keep important documents and valuables in a safe place. Avoid displaying signs of wealth or affluence that may attract looters or thieves who take advantage of civil unrest.
Stay Calm, Positive And Pray
Finally, try to stay calm and positive during times of civil unrest. Panic and fear can only make the situation worse. Focus on the positive, such as the strength and resilience of the Nigerian people. Pray for the peace of Nigeria.
By staying informed, proper planning, and working together, we can keep ourselves and our communities safe. Remember to stay calm, be positive, and support one another. Together, we can overcome any challenge that comes our way.