Since the Oluwabamise Ayanwola incident, several security tips on how to survive the increasingly dangerous Lagos terrain have gone viral.
Recall that Bamise, 22, was found dead last Monday on Carter Bridge, Lagos Island nine days after she was declared missing after she boarded Nice’s vehicle.
However, one of them, which is an automotive experts, teaches on how to stop a moving BRT bus if there is a reasonable suspicion the driver is being funny.
It reads: “If you find yourself inside any BRT bus and you feel unsafe, kindly be on the lookout for the emergency exit sign. It’s a red latch. You have to pull it. It will activate the bus emergency brakes. After pulling the red latch, that bus isn’t going anywhere.”
Ms. Francis also gave her tips. She said: “On the heels of what happened to Bamise, I suggest that people, everyone, irrespective of age and gender, should cultivate the habit of telling someone where they are heading to. If you have to take different buses to get to the final destination, always keep in touch with one or two persons, telling them where you are and the bus you have just boarded. And when you get to your destination, also let them know.
“Whenever I lodge in a hotel, I always send the room number to my family’s platform and then I will snap different corners of the room and send them to them. You just never can tell. We should always be suspicious and proactive. Being a crime reporter – and because I have covered many traumatic incidents – has made me become paranoid. People should not take the attitude of ‘it can never happen to me’. Tragic incidents can happen to anyone.
“Tragic incidents can happen to anyone, irrespective of gender or status. If a thorough and in-depth investigation is carried out on Bamise’s murder, you may be surprised to find out that using BRT to get prey for whatever sorts of fetish murders has been going on for years.
“Again, it is always safe to board commercial buses, whether BRT or otherwise, at their terminals or parks. If you want to board a BRT along the road and you are alone, just be watchful. If the passengers are few, better not board. This is because BRT buses charge low fare and passengers are always scrambling for it. So, why shouldn’t it be full of passengers?
“Passengers should not fail to challenge commercial drivers if they are suspicious of them or if they are speeding. Their lives are at stake. There should be a toll-free phone number pasted on BRT buses for passengers to send messages or call if they are worried or suspicious of any driver or if the driver is being rude or speeding. We should also not fail to realise that commercial minibuses are being used to kidnap people. It is happening a lot at the Lekki-Ajah axis.
“So, the scrutinising and investigation shouldn’t be only BRT buses but all commercial buses. Even private car owners who use their cars as commercial are also kidnapping unsuspecting passengers.
“The government and police should synergise on further securing the lives of passengers. There should be a toll-free phone for distress calls or sending a message during crisis. If Bamise had sent a message to such a phone line and it had led to patrolling RRS cyclists trailing the bus or patrolling the axis, maybe she would be alive today and we wouldn’t be discussing semantics.”
Reinforcing the need to further have drivers under control, Ms. Francis suggested that the state government “should have biometrics data of every commercial driver in their states and the buses should have trackers. Also, CCTV should be installed in BRT buses and at strategic parts of metropolitan states across Nigeria. The CCTV should be permanently on and there should be a unit or agency monitoring them.
“Our governments can do these things, but corruption and diversion of public funds continue to be our major challenge. To avoid further occurrences, a law enforcement agent, police/civil defense should constitute a joint task force to work with BRT buses, their special allowances should be taken care of by the private owners of these BRT buses. This means that one operative attached to a bus. If not, then an official of the BRT company should always be with the bus driver.
“There should be strict adherence to the resumption and closing time of BRT bus drivers. The drivers should clock in and out on a designated register or computer,” she stated.