There was a “clash” between Shiite protesters and men of the Nigerian Police Force recently. What was claimed to be a peaceful protest of reportedly armless Shiites somehow turned into a fracas that led to the death of people on both the side of the Shiite protesters and on the side of the Nigerian Police Force, and on sides that belonged to neither; a young poor Corper-reporter for Channels Television and others.

Nigerian is increasingly becoming familiar with clashes that lead to loss of lives; massacre in Jos today, midnight clashes that lives tons of bodies of farmers and their razed down houses at its wake tomorrow, clash between bandits and villagers in Aguata next tomorrow, protesters and uniformed Police men all around the country, etc.

You are not invincible, no one is. So here are a few tips on how to get through any “clash” if any is to happen around you.
I’m no security expert, so I may not give world-class tips but I’ll do my best.

1. If you ever get to hear of a planned protest; peaceful or not, please and please, keep yourself far away from the vicinity of such protest, unless you are sympathetic to the course of the protest and do not mind the possibility of making headlines the next day as one of the causalities of it. Apparently, the days of peaceful protests are gone now. It’s either protesters have metamorphosed beyond peaceful protests or the hand which they are marched with is incompatible with “peace.” If your route to work is part of the ground the protesters plan to cover, please take a different route to work, even if it may be farther. At least it will keep you farther from harm as well.

2. Stray bullets are part of the deal with “clashes”. So in the event you are unavoidably around a protest ground and bullets begin to fly in the air, take a clue from the many Hollywood movies you have watched all your life; get down. Bullets lose their penetrative force as gravity acts on it. So unless the bullet was specifically aimed at someone on the ground; technically it wouldn’t be stray anymore, it can’t hit someone on the ground. So yes, get down, wherever you are; in the middle of the street, in your office nearby , or in your house. Strays have been known for entering houses and hitting people who were in the confines of their walls.

3. Please don’t say “let me drive through quickly.” Even if you are moving at the speed of 180mph, bullets move even faster. So please, don’t drive through, quickly or not, simply drive off the miles away from the protest radius.

4. Please unless you are a journalist, you are not the best candidate to bring the events of the “clash” to the frontline. Don’t try to excite your friends with first-hand information. What am I trying to say?; such situations are not the best time for iReport coverage, put down your phone and save your head. Don’t worry, unprofessional, unedited, incoherent video clips of the fracas will eventually filter its way to our community whatsapp groups. Unless you’re a Journalist, you wouldn’t be receiving any award or reward for making them. So yes, concentrate on keeping safe than documenting an event you are not even sure you will survive.

5. Times are volatile now, just about anything can disrupt calm and degenerate it to chaos. So lose any emblem, attire, image or anything of semblance that can possibly lead to controversy. This is not the best time to identify with any group that is sensitive. Unless of course you are a member of Miyetti Allah who despite the controversy surrounding them are growing in widths and bounds lately. So yeah, you can be a proud card-carrying member of the Association or even make up their vigilante group and be confident that you will be fine not matter the turn of events.

6. You know, these “clashes” is among other things a sign of level of insecurity. That; high level of insecurity brings about heightened security. So generally, this is not the best time to live-up the night life. Avoid anything that will keep you out after dark, if a cockroach rattles in one corner, everyone begins to panic and panic leads to “not well thought-out” actions; one of which is notoriously accidental discharge. Please don’t ask me by who.

Like I already said, what do I know about security and being safe, but this is my little beat.

Don’t say I never did nothing for you all.

Keep safe. Peace out.

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