Dear Naija Teens, I am sure you have been in the news since the past 1 week. Even if not a full-fledged following, I want to trust you are aware that protests are ongoing across the nation, and some lives are lost already. I sincerely did not want to bring this to you but when I read actress Genevieve’s story of how her 13 year old niece was harassed by the Police, I came to understand it has nothing to do with age.
We are talking about none other than the Special Anti-Robbery Squad SARS, the unit of Police which was set up as it name implies to combat robbery but sorry is the case for Nigeria because almost on a daily basis, there are cries and sadness in the streets, emanating from this unit.
This is not to scare you but if you’re living in Nigeria, especially Lagos State, it is not safe and that is what the youths are clamouring and protesting for freedom and safety. While they combat, trying to reach a favourable solution, it is better that you as a teenager keep yourself in the know and stay safe off any form of harassment. It is believed that Nigerian police are immune to the laws of the nation and therefore, go unpunished so many times irrespective of the outrageous crimes they continue to commit, including murder.
In light of the this, it has become important that citizens look out for themselves and below are some ways through which you can protect yourself: 1. Let your whereabouts be known: if you are visiting a friend, going to school, please inform at least one person, and if you have change of plans, inform too. This makes it easier linking dots when the need arises. 2. Dress appropriately: in as much as one’s dressing is not a criteria or warrant for arrest, that is the situation Nigeria has found itself in, don’t be caught up in that web, endeavour to dress appropriately at all times. 3. Be prepared: you may or you may not be accosted by a Policeman but every time, be at alert. Do not be lost in the environment that you loose your guard. If approached, keep your hands visible so there is no thought of you possessing harmful objects. 4. Never argue: with an armed Policeman, never! This doesn’t mean you have to be timid, but many of these men are trigger happy and God forbid we lose you. Rather, explain your points and express your rights calmly and without violence. Read also: Diary Of A Naija Teen: The Earlier You Move Up, The Better 5. Take note and evidences: Try to remember an officer’s name or badge number, as well as a detailed account of the incident so you can write them down as soon as possible after the encounter. Always have a pen, paper and/or a disposable camera recorder. In cse of any injuries or damage, take photos and/or videos.
Above all, you do not need to be shivery at the sight of a Policeman. As long as you are not a criminal, brace up and go your way. If you are confronted, do not shiver or let them rush you into saying things that are not true. Whatever you say might be used against you, even those you didn’t, they may want to robe you, so majorly, be at alert and courageous.Photos Credit: Getty