Monday, 13 April 2015

Boko Haram May Abduct More Schoolgirls - Security Expert Warns

A security expert, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, has warned that the Boko Haram insurgents may abduct more schoolgirls from the North East, unless  proactive robust school security measures were put in place to forestall such occurrence.

He said going by the worldwide publicity and notoriety that the insurgents got from kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, the controversial leader of the group, Abubakar Shekau was likely to launch such attack again with the aim of calling attention to his group despite its apparent defeat by the Nigerian military.

In a statement issued in Lagos ahead of the first anniversary of the mass abduction of the girls, Ekhomu, who is President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON), called for the creation of standards of security to harden educational institutions against fresh terrorist attacks. He challenged school authorities and state governments in the North to urgently design security master plans for schools in order to safeguard students and teachers from more terrorist attacks.

Dr. Ekhomu, who described the plight of the Chibok girls as tragic said: “I’m sure that most of the girls have been given away to terrorist commanders or sold off as wives or sex slaves by Shekau.”

He charged all relevant authorities to be proactive in the implementation of security measures aimed at protecting students from mass abductions or mass murder.

Nevertheless, Ekhomu praised the successful military operation in the North East, which resulted in reclaiming territories previously captured by the insurgents. He, however, warned that the deadly group had not been defeated, but had merely gone underground from where they can mount stealth attacks.

He, therefore, advised the incoming administration to be led by General Muhammadu Buhari, to focus on the security of the vulnerable population in schools in the northern part of the country, stressing that the security of schools from Boko Haram attacks should form an important part of the new government’s security architecture.

Ekhomu who is said to be the first chartered security professional in Nigeria condemned the safe school initiative as not being focused on protecting school populations. He said the initiative was ‘British culture-bound’ focusing on infrastructure development, emergency relief and rehabilitation of the Chibok girls who may never be found.

“Rather than on preventive, detective or reactive physical security measures that could address the existential threat to schools in northern Nigeria,” he argued.

He advised that security experts be involved in conducting vulnerability assessments and threat assessment of schools in order to develop workable School security master plans.

“The plans should include concentric layers of protective measures, smoke bombs to conceal students in their hostels from marauders, electrified hardware to lock-down the school in the event of an invasion by malevolent individuals. There should be security awareness training for Schools including teachers and students,” the expert counseled.

While recommending the purchase of a book entitled ‘Effective Personal and Corporate Security’ for Schools to help them develop their security awareness programs, he also urged the government to establish a 911 emergency response system for taking calls from persons in distress.

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