Security expert tasks FG, states on terrorism, extremism
A security expert, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, has urged federal and state governments to accept the reality that terrorists and extremists will continue to attack civilians they consider as soft targets unless a new approach is adopted.
“Rather than whine about the fact that insurgents, bandits and herdsmen kill and kidnap people, the national and sub-national governments should target-harden Nigerian civilians and reduce their vulnerabilities to threats,” he advised.
Presenting a paper at an international colloquium organised by the Men’s League of Christ Church on Democracy Day, Ekhomu, who is President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON), said that the recent pronouncement by President Buhari that sub-nationals should find solutions to their security challenges means that state governors can no longer sit on the sidelines and complain that they do not have the authority to protect their citizens.
In the paper titled: ‘Current State of Insecurity and the Rise of Insurgency in Nigeria’, Ekhomu said terrorists have redrawn battle lines to include churches, mosques, schools, hospitals, shopping malls, remote villages, highways, waterways, farm settlements, railway stations, motor parks, etc.
He said terrorists were picking on soft targets, as their goal is to keep citizens in fear and erode the legitimacy of the government. “Armed non-state actors now collect taxes and levies in the North East and North West. ISWAP is now acting as a government in communities in Northern Borno State,” he said.
He advised state governments to make security a part of their socio-cultural DNA. He advised states to assess the threats in their jurisdictions, as well as map their vulnerabilities. He further advised states to organise, train and equip an armed vigilance force to provide community defence shields. He said vigilance personnel should be armed with shotguns, which are allowed under extant laws. He elaborated that the vigilance and other community resources are intended to provide an initial response while federal law enforcement and military resources would provide a secondary response to neutralise the threats.
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