Security Challenge in the FCT took the centre stage Tuesday when the FCT and the House of Representatives Committee on FCT organized a security summit. The event underscored the importance of the FCT as the seat of power and the most important city in the country. CHIKA OTUCHIKERE reports.
The urgency to completely insulate the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), from attacks by terrorists and kidnappers came to the fore on Tuesday when key stakeholders in the FCT and the Nigerian project came together in a summit to fashion a way to prevent terrorists, especially suicide bombers and kidnappers, from carrying out their dastardly acts within the territory.
The summit put together by the FCT Administration and the House of Representatives Committee on FCT in collaboration with a private security outfit, Smart Security Limited, attracted top brass in the military, police and other security agencies.
Opinion leaders in the FCT were also not left out. The large turnout at the event succinctly captured the yearning of most residents of the FCT for city made impenetrable from insurgents and criminals.
The Ambassador of the State of Israel, His Excellency Mr. Moshe Ram was also on hand to render timely nuggets on the issue of terrorism. He presented a paper on the Israeli experience and its relevance to Nigeria.
The keynote address was read by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, who gave a detailed analysis of the state of the FCT in terms of terrorists attacks and kidnapping.
The IG who was represented by the Chief Superintendent of Police CSP in charge of Operations in the FCT Command, Mr Gabriel Elaigwu, apart from reeling out statistics of insurgency and kidnapping in the FCT, also gave security tips which he said could become handy in the fight against terrorists
“This summit could not have come at a better time given the current security challenges facing our nation today. The objective of the summit is to create awareness and acquaint residents as well as visitors to the FCT with vital information pertaining to terrorism and kidnapping, with a view to giving clue on how not to become victims of these twin heinous evils,”Abubakar said .
The IG pointed out that “terrorists do not see themselves as evil,but legitimate combatants fighting for what they believe in.” He noted that terrorism which began in Nigeria with the Niger Delta militants has become synonymous with Boko Haram.
He gave statistics of terrorist attacks in the FCT to include the October 1, 2010 bomb attacks near Eagle Square, the Mogadishu Barracks bomb attack in December 2010, the Louis Edet Police Force Headquarters attack on June 16, 2011 and the United Nations building bomb attack in September 25, 2011.
Others are the ThisDay Newspaper suicide attack in April 26th 2012, the bomb blast near a popular Night Club in Wuse 11 in June 22nd 2012 and the bomb blast in front of Park ‘n’ Shop near Banex Plaza in Wuse 11 in July 3, 2012.
The IG also pointed out that while many lives and property worth billions of naira were lost in the first three incidents, the other three incidents did not result in any loss of life although a lot of property were destroyed.
On the issue of kidnapping in the FCT, Abubakar disclosed that there have been 11 instances of kidnapping in the FCT with the first instance recorded in 2010 where a lady was kidnapped by five persons at the Life Camp, Abuja.
According to the IG, 2010 recorded two more cases, but all the victims were rescued by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad at Bwari. He said that in 2011, there were six cases of kidnapping; all involving prominent persons. According to him, all the victims were successfully rescued by the police.
“Permit me to state with all humility that in all these 11 instances of kidnapping recorded in the FCT the victims were successfully rescued by the police without payment of any ransom to the kidnappers. Besides, 16 suspects were arrested in connection with these 11 cases of kidnapping and were prosecuted in court,” he said.
The IG also reeled out about 18 security tips which, he said, Nigerians should be familiar with to be able to have an upper hand over terrorists and kidnappers.
The Israeli ambassador who spoke on the phenomenon of suicide bomber terrorism emphasized that the only way to combat terrorists which, he said, has proved to be potent in the Israeli experience, is to be proactive, using intelligence to find out about terrorists before they carry out their attacks.
The ambassador who pointed out that there are many faces of the suicide bomber, however, listed six stages of preparation in the execution of a suicide bomb attack.
These, he said, include the recruitment of the terrorist, physical and spiritual preparation of the terrorist for the attack, preparation for the attack; intelligence gathering, operational planning, producing the explosive device and preparation of supporting infrastructure.
Others, he said, include ceremony in which the terrorist departs on the mission, execution of the attack and taking full advantage of the media potential surrounding the attack.
Retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Fidelis Oyakhilome, who also presented a paper on the Protection of Public Buildings and Assets, noted that the most important thing in the case of suicide bombing is to prevent the suicide bomber from gaining entering the building.
“It must be remembered that a suicide bomber does not need to escape; he is there to die. He must not be given the opportunity to operate,” he said.
He lamented that government has not considered setting up a minimum standard for protection of public buildings. This, he said, could be explained by the fact that public buildings had not been targets of major attacks before now.
The chairman of the House of Representatives committee on Honourable Emmanuel Jime received an award of the Abuja Security Summit along with the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, and the Minister of State, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, for their contributions in making Abuja a safe place to live and do business.