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How to Avoid Being Robbed in Lagos

by | Guides

May 10, 2022

People getting robbed in Lagos are one of the familiar stories you often hear about but believe, in your innermost feelings, it will never happen to you. 

The city, Lagos, is prone to crime. Especially petty thieveries and robberies. This is because it is a densely populated area with a high prevalence of unemployment and is somewhat costly to live in. In Lagos, robberies and thieveries happen often and can happen wherever and at whatever time. 

Victims are usually newcomers who are considered JJC (Johnny-just-come). They fall victim, because they are unaware of how to avoid being robbed in Lagos. This article explains practically how you can stay safe in Lagos throughout your stay here.


How to Avoid Being Robbed on the Street

Most of the robberies that happen in Lagos happen on the streets. They could range from petty thievery, which includes snatching, bullying, etc., to actual robberies with small knives and/or small firearms. 

Lagos streets are a perfect place to rob because they are usually crowded. Everything happens fast. No one understands what is happening, and neither is anyone ready to step in and stop.

You can avoid being robbed on a Lagos street this way: 

Avoid the Dark

  • If you don’t want to be robbed in Lagos, avoid the dark.
  • Don’t be tempted to leave work too late, and don’t fall for leaving home too early in the morning before darkness lifts.
  • If you happen to be out in the street when it is dark, avoid corners in the street, especially corners that are deserted.

Robbers in Lagos usually take cover in deserted dark corners. 

Read: I want to move to Lagos

Don’t Walk Towards Anyone You Don’t Know

One tactic common amongst Lagos thieves, especially street thieves, is ‘catcalling.’ They could pose as anything; a stranded person, someone who has known you for a while. Anything. In this disguise, they will call after you, beckoning for your attention. Don’t fall for this. You could get robbed. 

If anyone on the street calls after you, be sure to look at the person’s face carefully. If you know the person, then go to him. If you don’t, then, by all means, be on your way. 

Hold Your Belongings With an Iron Fist

Lagos robbers are excellent snatchers. If they find that you are holding your belongings loosely, they could come around and snatch them out of your hands and take to their heels at once. 

So, hold your belongings properly. Keep your mobile phones in your bag. And strap your back to your body. Be conscious. Be aware of every item in your possession. Watch after them as one would watch after a child. 

Read: I need help in Lagos

Avoid Strange Crowds

Strange crowds in Lagos, a lot of times, spell danger. If you spot a crowd you don’t feel comfortable about, then it is best to stay away. Turn the other way and be on your way, especially if you have pricey possessions on you. 

If You Feel Followed, Seek Help

Sometimes, robbers will follow you. They may do this subtly sometimes, and other times, they may not. Whatever the case, if you feel followed, seek help. 

The first set of people you want to seek help from are the police. Locate any checkpoints close to you. In Lagos, there are many police checkpoints; so many you will most likely find one on every major street or avenue. 

If you can’t find a checkpoint, take a cab. Tell the cab to drive you to the nearest location you are conversant with. When you get there, inform the police that you are being followed. 

Read: I need something in Lagos

How to Avoid Getting Robbed on a Bus

Lagos bus robberies may not be as common as street robberies, but they happen, and you have to be careful. 

To avoid getting robbed on a bus in Lagos, do the following:

Don’t Enter a Bus if You are the Only One There

Let’s say you go to the bus station and, for some reason, you are the only one there; just you and the bus driver. Please, don’t enter that bus. You just might be showing signs of paranoia, but, I am telling you, it is better safe than sorry. 

Only enter busses that are somewhat filled. This way, you know that you are in the company of other people and, should something go wrong, have the strength of numbers. 

Don’t Enter Busses at Night

Except very necessary, don’t enter a bus in Lagos at night. Night buses usually spell trouble. 

Get off, Too, If Everyone Mysteriously Gets off Your Bus

If you enter a bus and minutes after everyone mysteriously reaches their destination, which happens to be a particular point, please get off too. And fast. You don’t want to be the only person on a bus in Lagos. 

Robbers find strength in isolation. When they identify a victim, the next thing they try to do is isolate that victim. If, for some reason, you feel like you are being isolated, please try and get back to safety. 

Read: I need an apartment in Lagos

Enter Government Buses

Government buses in Lagos are quite safer than regular Danfos. Use government buses if, for some reason, you fear that you are going to be robbed. Also, have the emergency numbers on speed dial in case something goes wrong. 

How to Avoid Being Robbed When Using the ATM 

Don’t Use the ATM at Night

Stick to withdrawing your money during the day. Don’t use ATMs at night. Night and dark in Lagos means robberies are more likely to happen. 

Do Not Withdraw if You Suspect You were Being Followed

When you feel as though someone has been following you, it is best not to withdraw. Be safe. Just walk past the bank as though you had no intentions of stopping by. 

Walk to safety, and then back home. And, as mentioned earlier, inform the authorities that someone has been following you. 

Use a Taxi (Bolt or Uber)

Don’t visit the ATM when you plan to return to a danfo. Use a cab, so you are ensured more safety. Let the cab drive you to the bank. Withdraw there, and then get back into your cab. 

Read: How Does Electricity Work in Nigeria? 

How to Protect Yourself From Traffic Robbers

  • Don’t Hold Your Phone out the Window: Holding your phone out the window is like baiting robbers. They will come for you. In traffic, keep your belongings close to you. Hold your bag. Shove your phone deep inside your pocket. 
  • Have the Emergency Number on Speed Dial: have the authorities on speed dial. This is good practice. The moment you feel uneasy and unsafe, call them and let them know what is happening. 
  • Get Physical if there is a Need To: In Lagos, you have to learn to defend yourself. If it ever gets to the point where self-defense becomes necessary, please do not hesitate. Defend yourself.

How To Deter Thieves in Lagos

Remember, I mentioned earlier that Lagos thieves like to target people, then isolate them. A good way to avoid being robbed is to deter them. That is, discourage them from ever considering you a target. And should they already consider you one, stop them from going any further with their plans of robbing you: 

Wear a Confident Look

Just as it is in the wild, predators in Lagos lookout for the weakest member of the herd. In the introduction, it was mentioned that victims usually fall victim to Lagos robbers. The reason is simple. They look weak, and weakness is enticing to predators. 

The last thing you want to do is look like the JJC in Lagos. You want to look confident, and you want to look strong. This means you should not be found acting timid or lost for any reason. 

Even when you walk past someone who makes your gut feel uncomfortable, shrug it off with a frown. Act as though you are not scared of anything, as though you are strong.

Move-in Groups

If for some reason, you have to move at night or move through a place generally considered unsafe, then it is best you move in groups. Don’t allow yourself to be isolated. Robbers often avoid groups, as groups are trouble. Move with your friends and coworkers. Move with someone. 

Raise an Alarm

If you feel as though someone is following you, deter him or her by raising an alarm. Anything goes since it is your safety on the line. Yell. Scream. Call for help. Anything that draws attention your way. 

Read: Lagos Travel Guide: What to See, Do, and Eat in Lagos

How to Avoid Getting Mugged

  • First, avoid crowds. I mentioned this earlier. Avoid crowds. 
  • If you must get into crowds, then be sure not to be dressed in a way that draws attention to you. In other words, blend in. Do not go into crowds with very large bags. Try to stick with smaller bags. 
  • Call for attention: even in crowds, call for attention. Your robbers may try to threaten you into not calling for attention but call for attention anyways. 
  • Protect Yourself: if worse comes to worst, then it is time to get physical and protect yourself. 

Photo by Tarik Haiga on Unsplash

By Ubee Johnson

Ubong Johnson (Ubee) is a medical student and freelance writer. He writes articles that cover everything from Lagos city guide to lifestyle.

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