By Mitaire Ikpen
ABUJA — In a move to secure strategic public establishments from bomb attacks, the Federal Government, yesterday, ordered government agencies particularly in the Federal Capital Territory to immediately instal surveillance gadgets in their premises just as it gave indication that the Islamic sect could resort to the use of letter bombs for its terror attacks.
Consequently, the government directed security attachees from the State Security Service (SSS) who are domiciled as Departmental Security Officers (DSOs) in the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to purchase sophisticated security gadgets such as parcel/letter bomb detectors, CCTV cameras, walk-through metal detectors and other superior surveillance gadgets to ward off any possible attack from the Boko Haram sect.
To ensure strict compliance, Vanguard learnt, a security inspection team will soon be visiting all the MDAs to access the state of security measures and preparedness to counter terrorism.
Speaking at the opening of a three-day security consciousness workshop for the Departmental Security Officers (DSOs) in Abuja yesterday, Permanent Secretary (Special Services Office), Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Esther Gonda, said the increasing security challenges in the country had made it imperative for government to strengthen the security of public establishments in the country.
Already, Gonda noted, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation has commenced the implementation of these security measures around its building, the Shehu Shagari complex located within the Federal Secretariat complexes, including the positioning of snipers to take out perceived enemies of state.
She berated the nonchalance with which government and security agencies had treated security issues in the past, citing the bombings of the Force Headquarters and the United Nations building last year which left many dead and injured, and stressed that stark security realities call for a change of attitude and overhaul of security strategies.
She said government could not treat unfolding security challenges with kid gloves because the Boko Haram sect had proved that it was bent on causing harm on the entire Nigerian nation.
She said: “Events of the last few months starting with the June 11, 2011 and the August 26, 2011 bombings of the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters and the UN Building respectively, had left no one in doubt of the fact that we cannot continue in the nonchalant way we handle security. The challenges we face daily demand that we must change our attitude to the way we work, and the way we view our environment.
“We must, therefore, critically access our surroundings and determine how vulnerable we are. We must also determine those who should have access to our premises.
Let me seize this opportunity to inform you that while the government is planning to emplace adequate security measures for cluster MDAs within Abuja, the DSOs through their respective MDAs are expected to provide basic security measures such as CCTV, walkthrough metal detectors, scanners, parcel/letter bomb detectors, etc.
“At the moment, the office is completing the installation of Bollards, Under Vehicle Surveillance System (UVSS), and Biometric Access Control System. Snipers have been purchased and the office has also concluded plans to beef up its fence with sensor wires and intelligent security cameras.”
Loyalty among security agencies
Gonda also raised issues of patriotism and loyalty among security agencies which she added would be ironed out in the course of the ongoing security workshop, stating: “This workshop is tackling not just issues of physical security, but the issue of document security will be discussed and this must be taken very seriously.”
Corroborating the issue of trust and patriotism, representative of the State Security Service (SSS) at the occasion, Ms. Marilyn Ogar, noted that beyond the use of technology, there was need for trust and confidence building among security agencies.
According to her, “security agencies are on top of the security situation. I want to say authoritatively that if everybody comes on board, we will soon see the end of the present security challenges. Technology is not enough, there must be confidence and trust building.”
The security workshop, expected to churn out far-reaching recommendations, was organized by the Special Services Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) in collaboration with the Department of State Services (DSS). Apart from the Departmental Security Officers (DSOs) in government Ministries, Departments and agencies, other participants included representatives of the various security agencies in the country.