Sunday, 8 June 2014

Insecurity: Police redoubles effort

Okechukwu Onuegbu

The police has redoubled its effort to improve security in every corner of the Federal Capital Territory, by launching a wide range of preventive activities such as screening, monitoring and keeping records of dealers in materials likely to be used in the production of improvised explosive devices [IEDs] to ensure proper control of such items.
FCT police command commenced the wide range of activities late last month after the two bomb blasts at Nyanya, a suburb of the capital located about six kilometers on the Abuja-Keffi highway where a large concentration of people especially civil servants who could not afford the high rent in the city centre reside.
Investigations showed that security agencies now scrutinize or examine the inventory of gas dealers who were also instructed to discretely obtain the particulars of people purchasing cooking gas canisters whether filled or empty to enable the security agencies regulate the sale of explosive materials.
Other materials placed on the check list of the security outfits are chemicals likely to cause explosion such as carbide used by vulcanizes, light explosive items utilized by quarries, construction and drilling companies while knockouts, that were the delight of children in the past have been completely banned from the city.
It was gathered that the police has quietly conducted a census of dealers in gas canisters and retailers in the territory and also instructed them to obtain detailed information about their customers to ensure that Boko Haram terrorists or their agents do not purchase the materials for negative purposes.
The action of the security agency has caused a sharp rise in gas as top-up rates now start from N2, 000 instead of N1,000 while new purchases range from N5, 000 upward.
Highly placed sources disclosed that the police action was preemptive in nature and was influenced  by the fact that many bombs detonated in various parts of the north by Boko Haram insurgents were produced with local materials such as gas cylinders, petrol, wires, fertilizer, nails and an assortment of electrical items obtainable from the open market.
A dealer in gas in Kuje, Mazi Okeke Nwankwo who was initially reluctant to speak on the issue, said reluctantly that security officials visit him and other dealers at least once every week to make inquiries about their customers saying the queries were becoming unpleasant.
He said many gas dealers in the city are thinking about changing their line of business reasoning that Boko Haram members can purchase the canisters without the knowledge of the dealers for illegal purposes rather than cooking only for the police to come and arrest the dealers as accomplices to crime.
The Nigeria Police have also commenced massive public enlightenment campaigns to raise citizen’s awareness on how to avoid untimely death from terrorist attacks through Improvised Explosive Devices [IEDs] and other strategies that may be introduced by insurgents.
It was gathered that the campaign will see the police distributing tonnes of instructional materials in every state of the federation as part of its social responsibility or contribution to the war against insurgency.
Spokesman of the police, Mr. Frank Mba said some of the enlightenment campaigns would take the form of mass production and distribution of safety pamphlets translated in many Nigerian languages for proper penetration and reach of the nation’s rural communities.
He explained that “the pamphlets would assist people get adequate information and better understanding of terrorists activities to enable the people take protective measures whenever necessary.” 
In addition to useful tips, Frank said the pamphlets contain special telephone numbers of police formations and contact details of other security agencies across the country, which can be used by people to send distress calls for the intervention of security agencies when attacked or while facing eminent danger from hoodlums. 



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