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Security agencies should see themselves as one unit during disasters

Security agencies have been urged to see themselves as one indivisible entity while responding to emergency situations. This reminder came at the end of a workshop for stakeholders and improvised explosive devices in mass casualty handling.
The workshop at the instance of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) North Central Zone is meant to address critical security responses to disaster situations so as to sharpen the knowledge of those involved. This was the resolve of the speakers at the workshop yesterday which took place at the Elim Top Suites, Rayfield, Jos.
The workshop was organised to help stakeholders to identify critical resources in the event of an improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The participants were drawn from the police, the air force, civil defence operating in Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau States. Other participants included the Road Safety, Fire Service and the Red Cross.
Welcoming the participants, the Acting Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, North Central Zone, Alhaji Mohammed Abdulsalam, said the aim of the workshop is to identify critical resources in the event of an IED incident and also to ascertain the state of alertness of relevant stakeholders in a pro-active move to mitigate the impact of a large scale emergency.
According to Abdulsalam, “You will agree with me that IEDs have become the cheapest and simplest form of explosive weapon used by terrorist all over the world. It is an element of chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear (CBRN) component which are manufactured in the form of an integrated circuit (ICs) in some cases and used as a weapon of mass destruction when detonated either by a suicide bomber or when planted in hidden areas as a trap for a specific target.
“Sadly, terrorism has remained a global threat from which no nation is immune. Although Nigeria and the international communities in general have achieved numerous successes in their fight against terrorism, this effort indeed has forced the terrorist to adapt, as they continue to devise new approaches in response to tighter security measures.”
He called on security agencies and other public service officials to demonstrate respect for members of the public through their policies, procedures and conduct. “This gesture would make the public gain confidence in and respect the security agencies and public officials which are instrumental to the fight against terrorism and other crimes in the country and the world at large.
“It is note worthy to mention here that in order to combat, mitigate and respond effectively to IED and CBRN incidence, the security agencies, relevant stakeholders as well as members of the public must be sufficiently prepared through awareness creation activities and also acquiring best knowledge on IEDs and CBRN hazards that threaten the nation.
“Finally, it is my sincere expectation that this exercise will help us all in fashioning the way forward for combating, mitigating and responding to IEDs and other terrorism related emergencies bearing in mind the imperatives of global best practices.”
In a paper titled, “Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and the Challenges of Combating Terrorism in Nigeria,” the Unit Commander, Police Anti-Bomb Squad, Plateau State Command, Assistant Superintendent Abel Mbibi, enumerated some of the challenges faced in checking the menace to include lack of political will, religious differences, disregard to expert advice by decision makers and lack of coordination due to undefined roles by disaster managers.
Mbibi specifically noted that when Boko Haram surfaced initially, there was no political will to confront it until it has now acquired a bigger dimension, adding that leaders are not ready to take advice from their juniors who know better in that field. He said senior security do not know the role they are supposed to play during emergencies.
“There is that dangerous division among security agencies during terrorist attacks. We will do it alone and get credit. And again, there is lack of awareness by the members of the public on steps to take in the event of disaster.”
Mbibi also mentioned as one of the inhibitions the lack of necessary tools and equipment by the security officers to work with, advising that NEMA should have tools and adequate equipment to manage disasters.
On his part, Superintendent of Police, Anti-Bomb Squad, Nasarawa State Police Command, Mr. Adamu Mohammed Muye, also shared his experience in the field of disasters, saying that the IEDs are very disastrous.

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