Security tips

Staying Safe on Nigerian Campuses: 10 Major Security Tips

by Susan Oyeniyi-Israel

Lately, there’s an increased need for people to be cautious of their environment, actions, and the people they interact with every day. It is the same for Nigerians. The country records new cases of crime, insecurity, and bad news daily. About 20-30% of these incidents involve youths and Nigerian students currently on campuses and in universities. 

As a result, we need practices and actions that can keep us secure even more than before. Below are ten safety and security tips to keep you safe on campus as a Nigerian student.

10 Personal Security Tips for Nigerian Students

  1. Be conscious of your environment

It doesn’t matter if you have spent years on your campus and know each destination like the back of your hand; it is a vital security tip to always be conscious of your environment. We easily forget to remain alert in places we are already used to, which should not be the case.

Most students do not acknowledge minimal changes on their campuses since their major aim is to study. They forget what certain places and landmarks look like until they need them. As a result, they end up putting themselves in danger of losing track of their surroundings, leading to the risk of misinformation. 

You may think this is unnecessary, but as students in a Nigerian University, there’s little to no escape from night classes and reading. What happens when there’s insufficient illumination to help us see in the dark? Remember to pay attention, especially when you’re walking alone. Hence, this is an important security tip you should always have at the back of your mind.

  1. Keep your valuables well

In any situation, besides our lives, our gadgets are the second most important belongings we own as students. Therefore, it is very important to have a plan for securing your gadgets. Students usually have a phone, power bank, and audio enhancers like earpieces and AirPods. 

Some others also have laptops and smartwatches. You should follow certain protocols to ensure the security of your gadgets at all times;

  • Do not leave your phone on tables or chairs in libraries or classrooms unless it’s directly in front of you.
  • Make sure you activate ‘Find My Phone’ on your phone if the software allows it.
  • Remember to save emergency contacts and vital information if you misplace it.
  • If you go for reading at night, have bags that can be firmly shut and held on to if you decide to take a nap.
  • Ensure that you do not put all your gadgets in the same place. This prevents losing all your work, studies, and information in the case of theft or misplacement.
  • Remember to back up your files.
  1. Walk in groups

Nigerian Universities have a track record of being unkind to people who walk alone. This is why you need people you trust to walk around with. Especially in schools where catcalling, bullying, and harassment occur, there’s serious strength in numbers.

If you discover you’re being followed at any point in time, it pays to become aware of your surroundings and find people to mingle with to lose whoever is following you. Make sure to report any suspicious stalking you notice. 

Universities have become safer, but there’s still the risk of danger. So be careful always, do not walk alone, and ensure that the people you walk with can defend you in any dangerous situation. 

Read also: 8 Ways to Overcome Insecurity and Build a Strong Self-Esteem

  1. Know your school’s emergency numbers

No one plans or hopes for emergencies. But we live in a world where things might not go as planned, and we are expected to put measures in place for these unlikely incidents – because they can occur. You have to be prepared for what may happen and know the next steps to take. 

Having your school’s emergency line is one way to prepare for an unlikely event. These numbers would lead you straight to emergency responders trained in handling emergencies. They would not only help you figure out the emergency or provide the needed treatment in the case of a health emergency, but they would also be handy in taming the panic mode you might find yourself in. 

What numbers should you know or have written in a place you can easily access? 

  • Your school’s security office
  • Local Government Area Police Hotline
  • The crisis hotline
  • Your school’s fire service department hotline. 
  • Direct line to the school’s health service centre. 
  1. Don’t announce your plans in unfamiliar environments

One of the million things that mark Gen Z is the growing use of social media outlets like Snapchat and Instagram in posting stories that features how the day is going and so on. It is for the fun of keeping up with the trend, but there is a not-so-fun part about announcing plans on spaces like this and in environments that are rather unfamiliar.

This is because you don’t know who is listening or who might be watching you, and this applies to both genders.

If you announce your plans to the wrong person, they could harm you or take advantage of you simply because they know you are alone; they know where you are, or where you will be.

When you are in an unfamiliar environment, you have to be selective about who you tell your plans to. You don’t have to put all the information out there. Be vague about the details. And, when you are out, pay close attention to who is around you and what is happening. Leave the area immediately if you see anything that makes you feel unsafe.

  1. Register your vehicle with the school’s administration

Not all students own cars, but for those that do, registering them with the school authority is pivotal to keeping the school environment and fellow students safe. The point of doing this is that it helps the security unit identify vehicles that do not belong on campus, thus posing or signalling potential security threats. 

Unregistered vehicles are more likely to be stolen or involved in illegal activities. By maintaining a record of registered vehicles, campuses can proactively address security concerns. 

There is also the fact that every individual registering their vehicle with the authorities serves as a major deterrent against criminal activities. This is because these intending criminals know that vehicles are registered and monitored, making them less attractive for illicit activities. And in cases where these registered vehicles are used, authorities can easily and swiftly trace the involved vehicle and the owner. It fosters accountability and expedites investigations, contributing to a safer environment.

Read also: How to Make the Most of Your School Library as a Nigerian Student

  1. Be aware of the risks of harassment 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female; harassment will always occur. Sexually, financially or physically, no one is above harassment. This is why you mustn’t forget to keep yourself safe on the road while driving and on campus. 

Do not hesitate to ask for help in any case of harassment. As ladies, there’s a higher risk of harassment, and you should observe these practices to increase your security;

  • Avoid scuffles or arguments with aggressive/passive-aggressive people.
  • Learn one or two defence skills to help you in a dangerous situation.
  • While preparing for the day, ensure that you factor in the need to run or walk fast in any unexpected situation.
  • If you can afford it, get pepper spray, and always keep it on you. 
  • If you must be in an unfamiliar environment, remember to send your live location to the people you trust.

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  1. Report any suspicious cultist activity

For this, you must understand that on Nigerian campuses, cultist activities differ from what you would conventionally call a cultist gathering. Do away with that ideology you have of what a cult looks like or their trademarks. Cultism is not limited to the traditional tertiary institutions of cult societies. 

You may be surprised to know that certain organizations do not have the outlook of what a cult might have, but from their activities, you could deduce that it is a cult. When you come across these types of organizations and gatherings, you must report such occurrences.

While they might not be easy to pinpoint since they do nothing outrightly illegal, you would almost always find them engaging in harmful activities to their members, such as physical or psychological abuse and financial exploitation. 

Often, their activities are done in isolation, and the members have a strange devotion to one leader. These are the signs, and it is up to you to find the most discreet way to inform the school authorities about such activities. 

  1. Keep your hostel rooms closed and secure

While we might want to shy away from the ills plaguing our society, we cannot do the same regarding security threats. And one of the greatest threats to home security is the ease of access of intruders into your space. Whether it is your hostel on campus if your school has provision for in-campus living, or if you stay in areas of proximity to your school, keeping your hostel closed and secure is a priority. 

How is this done? Locking your doors. In keeping your room secure, there is a part of locking your doors immediately when you come into the room. As soon as you are in, lock it. Before you go to bed at night, confirm as many times as possible that the entrances to your apartment are locked. This would prevent intruders from having easy access to your room. 

Also, there is the part of allowing only those you trust to know where you stay and the security status of your room. This is not you being paranoid; it is about you being security conscious. Do not allow anyone you do not fully trust to access your room’s key. It is easy for them to clone your keys and access them when you are away without your consent.  

Read also: Is Student Loan a Blessing or Trap for Nigerian Students?

  1. Have your I.D. card with you always

The primary importance of having a school identity card is to ensure that anyone at any instance can recognize you as a student of a particular school. It is not just about accessing the library, the laboratory, or other restricted areas on campus. Having your I.D. card handy gives the security personnel around the school an idea of who you are and how they are to react in case of a security breach involving students. 

Should you be lost, injured, or in danger, evidence of your identity could get you the help you need faster. You do not necessarily have to wear the I.D. on your neck. But it is of utmost priority that you have it on you. It could be in your wallet or an I.D. holder – anywhere is fine if you can easily access it when your identity needs to be verified. 

Conclusion

We can only try our best to be safe in a world where danger lurks at every corner. These tips work; there’s no doubt about that. It is also imperative to understand that you can never be too careful. If you feel uneasy or unsafe, do not hesitate to ask for help from the right authorities.

As a Nigerian student who wants to graduate in peace, make your safety a top priority always.

Oluwanifemi Akintomide edited this article.

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About Author

Avatar of Susan Oyeniyi-Israel
Susan Oyeniyi-Israel
Student of Philosophy||Writer||Baker|| Content Writer|| Student Journalist|| Video Creative. I love books, anime, and games.

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