Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Terrorism and national security

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16 September 2011

Editor Opinion - Editorial

RECENT pieces of official information on the wave of bomb attacks on public buildings and persons in the country are highly illuminating of the nation’s lack of preparedness to counter terrorism. Indeed, the spate of bombings took the nation unawares; and it is bad enough that security agencies could not properly utilise the hints they had of one of the attacks before it took place. It is worse when they embark on panic measures that may complicate security issues in future.

That the country is fairly under the siege of bombers is already an accepted fact. Unabashedly, the Boko Haram sect has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks. The latest in the bombing was the attack on the United Nations building in the Federal Capital Territory last month. The incident left 23 persons dead. This development has created great concern among Nigerians. To underscore the seriousness of the issue, the government convened the Council of State meeting recently to deliberate on the matter and bring out solutions. The Council came out with a number of suggestions, among them, the use of technology, enhanced border control, and tightening of security in the maritime sector, in the context of an overhaul of the country’s security architecture.

Beyond the fine lines of the Council of State’s deliberation is the worrying admission of our helplessness in tackling the scourge. National Security Adviser, General Andrew Azazi (rtd), said after the Council of State meeting that the country was not prepared for the current level of terrorism, and that it would take a while for the nation’s security formations to be on top of the situation. He also used the occasion to spotlight the low level of infrastructural development in the country such as the absence of a national database. In a similar vein, the State Security Service (SSS) had claim ed that it had prior information on the UN bombing, raising more questions than answers.

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