**Says more humanitarian workers will be abducted if…
By Evelyn Usman
President of the Association of Industrial Security & Safety Operators of Nigeria, AISSON, Dr Ona Ekhomu, has called on the Military to up its game in the fight against insurgency in the North-East, warning that more humanitarian workers might be abducted if drastic measures were not taken to ensure their safety.
Lamenting the execution of five humanitarian workers that were abducted by insurgents in Borno State, Ekhomu, said a troop surge into the North –East was needed to deliver ‘ a knock-out punch’ to the insurgents, thereby restoring normalcy in the region.
He also called for a large force of vigilance personnel to confront the threat in the North-East, and the need to focus on the war on terror and insurgency.
The security expert in a statement signed by his Personal Assistant, Tope Adesuyi, advised aid agencies to adopt what he described as robust situational crime prevention measures to protect their workers against insurgent attacks.
He said aid workers travelling to job sites in the North-East should have adequate transit security, including armed security personnel, adding that Internally Displaced Persons, IDP camps, field hospitals and other locations where aids are provided should have multiple layers of security to avoid incessant raids and seizure of aid workers.
According to him: “ humanitarian/aid agencies operating in the North-East should conduct vulnerability assessments of their operations, in order to avert the seizure of more aid workers by Boko Haram.
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“The insurgents are now targeting aid workers and may seize more to commemorate the 11th anniversary of the July 2009 Boko Haram jihadi uprising. Aid workers have propaganda value for the insurgents and they will seek out that population for execution so as to gain publicity and notoriety.
“Given that there is a credible threat of seizure by Boko Haram, aid workers should have adequate life insurance coverage in case of an unfortunate occurrence.
“The military should deliver a knock-out punch to the insurgents so that there could be return to normalcy. A troop surge into the North-East would be useful”.
Noting that in his new book titled Boko Haram: Security Considerations and the Rise of an Insurgency, “one of the aims of Boko Haram in kidnapping humanitarian workers is to raise funds. However, Boko Haram tends to execute hostages who do not bring in income, as we saw in the case of other Action Against Hunger,AAH workers. Boko Haram will execute their captives if they don’t get ransom”.
While extending condolences to families and employers of the murdered aid workers, Ekhomu, said, “although Boko Haram demanded a ransom of $500,000.00, they ought to know that it will take some time to put together that kind of money. Five hundred thousand dollars is not five hundred thousand naira. It appears that they wanted the negotiation to fail as a pretext for murdering the captives.”