By Evelyn Usman
Security expert ,Dr. Ona Ekhomu, has urged the Federal Government to utilize the Makama Strategy to go in hot pursuit of the abductors of the school children in Kagara, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.
He reminded that with every hour that passed , the terrorists were able to exercise better control over the abductees, a situation he lamented might result in more suffering for the school children.
Describing the abduction as unfortunate, Ekhomu , said the security of schools was not receiving adequate attention from the Federal Government.
He said “after the Kankara School abductions and other mass school abductions in the Northwest, the vulnerability of schools to targeted terrorist attacks had become evident. “Without adequate and effective counter measures, it was then possible for the bandits to abduct more school kids at will”.
Noting that education was a human right of young children, he was however quick to add that , “it is up to adults to create a safe environment where learning can take place. The Federal Government and Niger State Government failed the students by doing nothing to mitigate the porosity of Government Science Secondary School, Kagara ,which is a hotbed of insurgent activity in the Northwest.
The West Africa’s first chartered security professional further said that the probability of another school attack was axiomatic. He therefore called for the need for robust counter measures to be put in place to mitigate the inevitable attacks.
Such countermeasures according to him, should include “the installation of air raid sirens in schools, the use of force multipliers in alerting nearly authorities about attacks, use of metal doors in school compounds and the appointment of armed school resource (security) officers”.
He also called for the sack of the police and military chiefs with responsibility for Kagara town , saying “ they were derelict in performing their duty of protecting school populations and other soft targets”.
He urged the Niger State Commissioner of Police to lead the hunt for the abducted school children, adding that that while working with vigilance groups, hunters, police personnel, military and other security resources, there should be a hunt for the abducted students using the Makama line method”
He advocated the use of attack helicopters to give close support for the searchers, and decried the reported use of fighter jets saying “the right air assets must be used in resolving this situation. This is simple cost effective analysis”
Ekhomu lamented that the incessant mass abduction in schools were giving the impression that Nigeria was a failing state. He theregore, urged the Federal Government to work hard to change the negative perception and avoid a self fulfilling prophesy. The security expert referred counterterrorism officials, security planners and government officials to Chapter 8 of his new book titled Boko Haram:
Security Considerations and the Rise of an Insurgency which he said “deals with how to counter school attacks by insurgents, even as he urged Nigerians to be vigilant and report planned security breaches to the authorities.
He said that “jihadi extremists were active in the Northwest and Nigerians must deny them safe haven in the Rugu Forest. All the states in the North West should establish command and control centers where citizens can phone in their distress in order to reduce the delay in commencing rescue of abducted citizens”