Thursday 19 January 2023

VIP Protection: Advocating For Mandatory Bullet-Proof Vehicle For Armed Police Escort

Introduction: According to the Nigeria Security Tracker, NST, a project of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Africa programme that tracks and maps violence in Nigeria, no fewer than 8,058 lives were cut short violently across Nigeria in 2022. Specifically, no fewer than 138 policemen were killed across Nigeria in the last eight months – January to August, 2022. ‘’States with the highest number of policemen killed within this period are Niger with 24, Enugu with 18, Anambra with 13, Imo 12, Borno and Kogi with nine each. Others include Delta and Kastina with 7 each, Kebbi with 5, Ebonyi and Benue with 4, Cross River, Edo, Oyo, Taraba with 3 each, Jigawa, Rivers, Bayelsa and Ondo with 2 each, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Kwara, Lagos, Osun and the FCT with 1 each’’. The unrelenting and unfolding security challenges in Nigeria seem to have boosted the demand for armed protection services, close or VIP protection, with attendant up-tick in the sale of armoured, bullet proof, reinforced, or treated vehicles. Perhaps this is why Senator Shehu Sani describes bullet-proof vehicles ‘’as a major lifeline in the face of rising insecurity in Nigeria’’. Report by Punch Newspaper, September 26, 2022, shows that as preparations for the 2023 general elections gain momentum and amidst worsening insecurity across the country, the demand for bullet-proof Sports Utility Vehicles in Nigeria have increased significantly. According to Colonel Hassan Stan-Labo (retd.), ‘’politicians were rushing to purchase bullet-proof vehicles because they are very vulnerable, having failed to use public resources judiciously’’. Recall that the use of bullet proof vehicles in Nigeria is regulated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA). This means that an end user certificate (EUC) is needed and granted to private individuals who provide evidence of threat to their lives. Again, like many paper-tiger stipulations in Nigeria, aforesaid is far from been a hard-and-fast rule.

Tuesday 3 January 2023

Re: ‘’Abducted officer not yet rescued; search effort ongoing – Nigerian Army’’

Setting The Record Straight

Our attention has been brought to an erroneous and misleading press release on published on Guardian Newspaper, December 31, 2022 and on other media platforms by the Nigerian Army spokesman, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu claiming inter-alia, that ‘’Lieutenant PP Johnson, a female army officer, was abducted on Monday, December 26, 2022, while visiting her grandmother in Aku-Okigwe in Imo State, shortly after completion of her Cadet training and subsequent commissioning as a Lieutenant into the Nigerian Army’’.

Apparently, it was on the strength of this false notion that a horde of military personnel and other security agents invaded Aku community in Okigwe LGA on Friday, December 30, 2022, tenably in search of the abducted officer. Reports indicate that rampaging security agents not only shot indiscriminately but plundered, burnt several houses in the hitherto serene Aku community, located in Okigwe LGA of Imo state.