By Hugo ODIOGOR
NIGERIA may have a national guard under a new security system being considered by the Federal Government to deal with security lapses in the country.
The guard is expected to handle internal security operations such as the recurring Jos civil disturbances, Boko Haram uprisings, and militancy in the Niger Delta.
Saturday Vanguard gathered that following the twin bomb explosions at the Eagles Square in Abuja during the 50th Independence anniversary, President Goodluck Jonathan has decided to set his sight on:
*reorganisation of the nation’s security and intelligence community;
*introduction of technology in the fight against terrorism;
*evolution of a legal framework to strengthen the anti terrorism war;
*creation of a Homeland Ministry to co-ordinate internal security operations; and
*formation of a national guard to take care of civil unrests, kidnapping, electoral violence, illegal oil bunkering, and vandalization of oil and gas facilities and militancy in the oil producing areas, among others.
The President has already initiated the anti terrorism bill and sources told Saturday Vanguard that he “is favourably disposed to the idea of introducing the use of surveillance cameras in public places and government offices”.
Sources said in Abuja that the seat of federal power has become a beehive of activities for foreign security firms seeking government attention for their various public safety and security gadgets security challenges in the country.
Several security companies from the US, Europe, Asia, Middle East and South Africa are said to be exploiting the existing security lapses to market the use of appropriate technologies to tackle the security challenges.
The Chief Executive of one of the foreign security companies told Saturday Vanguard that “crime has attained a higher sophistication and those who have the responsibility to fight crime must step up to the challenges.
Criminals are usually ahead in their planning and strategies while bureaucracies, inadequate funds and logistics often hinder prompt response to crime fighting, so you need the support of technology to compliment human effort. But the important thing is that deterrence is also a factor in crime fighting”
It was gathered that President Jonathan is set to further tinker with the country’s security system by the end of the year to make it more proactive.
Said one source: “The President is peeved by the fact that those behind the Abuja bomb blasts on October 1 had given a 24 hour warning of their intention to disrupt the event but this was not followed up by the security organizations”. He is said to prefer a security system that is proactive and creative in combating security breaches in the country.
We have seen security failures in the Jos crises, Boko Haram uprisings; kidnappings; MEND attacks and others. The President is intent on doing something fast about our failure in intelligence gathering and the entire security arrangement in this country. On several occasions our security agencies have been caught napping and our physical and state security are in dire need of serious attention.”
Sources said the president is favourably disposed to the idea of creating a ministry to handle home land securities as “distinct from the encumbered the Ministry of Internal Affairs”.
The ministry is expected to co-ordinate the operations and activities of security agencies and para- military and security out fits that deal with physical security matters; check the threats of terrorism and religious up risings;and leave the police and the civil defence corps with the task of dealing with civil crimes”.
On the national guard, it was gathered that under the nation’s democracy the military cannot be saddled with internal security operations such as the ethnic-religious riots in Jos, Bauchi and other parts of northern Nigeria. “
Experience has shown that we need a National guard as the deployment of Military personnel to combat social conflicts have left more casualties and deaths as we saw in Odi, Zaki Biam,Jukun and Gbaramatu.
We know that the Police were over stretched in dealing with crimes and are also stretched in protecting political leaders,”sources said,adding that the proposed National Guard “will be built round the experience and expertise of service personnel who are being made to retire when they are still active.”
A former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Ned Nwoko told Saturday Vanguard the supports the idea of introducing appropriate technology to tackle security challenges in Nigeria, “but there will be the need to review some aspects of our laws to allow the use of technology to tackle crimes as video recordings and technological evidences are not accepted in our law courts”.
He added that the introduction of technological equipment to tackle crime will reduce the lack of clues in investigating crimes but should not infringe on personal liberties.