Strengthen security at petrol stations, experts tell govt

Fuel-scarcity-3AS the nation contemplates the best solution to the renewed assault by the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram, specialists in the security sector have canvassed enhanced security around petrol and gas stations.

Additionally, the Federal Government should ban street hawking and begging, as well as the sale of fuel by black marketers.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has kicked against the highway stop-and-search order of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Solomon Arase.

In a statement by its national coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the body maintained that the measure is tantamount to reintroducing from the back door avenues for police harassment and extortion of citizens. It urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the police hierarchy to reverse the order.

More so, the group demanded the return of counter-terrorism military checkpoints across the country, manned by well trained, well motivated and well equipped soldiers to track down the Boko Haram terrorists, who are presently on a well coordinated nationwide rampage high casualty figures.

Addressing a media briefing organised yesterday in Abuja by I-Nigeria, Executive Secretary of the Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC), Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (rtd), said the current upsurge in suicide bombing of soft targets is worrisome.

He noted that out of desperation, the “terrorists have been detonating bombs indiscriminately with a view to instilling fear in the people” as a way of “announcing their nature and to prove that they have not given up yet.

“It it is expected that they might still attempt to bomb other soft targets using children and female suicide bombers.”

The Nigerian Air Force former spokesman disclosed that a research conducted by the centre identified the need for additional measures to fortify the security around the country, such as “banning the sale of petroleum on the streets and sensitive locations by black marketers.”

Others include “extra security measures in gas stations, schools, malls, recreational areas, hotel, markets and motor parks across the country, and increased inter-agency collaboration. Some available information indicates that terrorists can make use of vulnerable points, as they are always exploring soft targets.

“There is need to be very cautious. We must exercise restraint because they are not easily identified, you don’t know the person about to sell that product to you, where he comes from and what his intention is.”

The CCC, an initiative of the Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA), according to Anas “as a child of necessity, conceived to play some strategic roles, including serving as think-tank for crisis situations in the country.”

This is “with a view to streamlining and emplacing a robust systematic approach to incident information management and response strategy beneficial not only to security and response agencies in the country but also other stakeholders and external publics.

“Furthermore, the centre will be involved in conducting research on the evolution of some crisis that have occurred or are likely to occur, with a view to providing strategic proactive measures to curtail them.

“As a professional information and communication management centre, we shall be involved in capacity building programmes for security and response agencies to enhance their capacities. However, the centre is non-governmental, non-profit and independent.”

Accompanied by two officials of the centre, Chidi Emeje and Abdulazeez Nurudeen, Anas emphasised that some basic security measures need to be in place, such as being informed about one’s immediate surroundings, being alert and proactive against danger.
Stop-and-search will worsen rights violations.

According to HURIWA, the recent directive from the Presidency to dismantle military checkpoints and replace them with ill-tempered, poorly trained and ill-equipped policemen has created collective panic and is the motivation that re-engineered the Islamists for their targeted bombings.

It warned that if the confusing directive on the nation’s security preparedness is not reversed, the insurgents might extend their frontiers of dare devilry to other geo-political zones, describing the directive as “hasty, emotive and error-prone.”

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