By Rogers Edor Ochela
For the umpteenth time, Nigerians were rudely woken up on Monday, April 14, 2014 to another deafening explosion in Nyanya, suburb of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja. After the smoke that accompanied the blast cleared, about 72 innocent Nigerians had been dispatched to their untimely graves, while over 200 who suffered various degrees of injuries were rushed to various hospitals where they are currently receiving treatment.
That singular murderous incident has left the nation reeling in avoidable pains and once again brought to the front burner the worrisome issue of terrorism that has held the nation by the jogulars and has taken its development back by several decades, thereby enveloping the nation with the peace of the graveyard.
Apparently caught unawares by that bloody incident, the Federal Capital Territory Administration has understandably rolled up its sleeves with a view to nipping future similar incidents in the bud and to ensure that residents of the city go about their businesses without fear of molestation, especially from the rampaging Boko Haram elements.
To this end, the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed has constituted a special committee to reconstruct, upgrade or relocate the park to enhance security and free flow of traffic in Nyanya where the incident happened.
The Minister, who constituted the Committee during an emergency security meeting which he summoned to review security situation in the FCT and deliberate on the way forward, directed the committee to commence work immediately, just as he also called on Nigerians to ensure that all hands should be on deck to ensure that normalcy returns to Nyanya and its environs as quickly as possible. He also said that plans are on to install metal detector devices or explosive devices on high capacity buses in the FCT to forestall future bombing incidents
Now that the FCT Administration is re-strategizing with a view to tackling the hair-splitting security challenges in the territory, it is of epochal significance to quickly advise that all the installed CCTV cameras dotting Abuja landscape like museum artifacts should replaced with functional ones. This will go a long way in detecting and eventually nipping criminal activities in the bud.
In the same vein, it is necessary to remind all Nigerians that security is everybody’s business. In the light of this reality, all residents of Abuja should learn to be their brother’s keeper and henceforth sleep with one eye closed. Criminals, including the murderous Boko Haram elements live among the people and as such, eternal vigilance should be everybody’s watchword.
Above all, all security personnel manning roadblocks and public buildings/offices should as a matter of urgency be provided with metal bomb detectors. This will help them to effectively discharge their duties in the interest of all Nigerians.
Since the current security challenges pose dire threat to the survival of the nation’s democratic project, there is equally the challenge of rethinking and improving on policy and institutional means of dealing with security concerns arising in the country.
The nation’s parliament equally has a fundamental role to play in tackling the security menace confronting Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria. This much was attested to by a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) in a Lecture he delivered at Nigeria Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru on November 26, 2004 thus: ‘’a process of legislative and constitutional review should be initiated to assess the country’s constitution and amend or expunge as necessary areas that have been found to give rise to conflicts and security problems. The process should also introduce new provisions and legislations that will ensure better and more effective interplay of interests among all groups and stakeholders in Nigeria.’’
The strategic Committee on the reconstruction and upgrading of the Nyanya Park comprises members drawn from the Urban and Regional Planning Department of FCT, Land Department, AGIS, and the Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council.
Apart from the mandate to work out modalities for reconstructing the Park, the Committee is also expected to explore the possibility of relocating the park to a better place to ease observed traffic gridlocks. The reconstructed park would have all necessary security features.
While appealing for the understanding of commuters and motorists plying the Mararaba – Nyanya – AYA road to bear with the authorities as efforts are being made to upgrade the Nyanya Park and improve security and traffic flow, the minister gave directives for enhanced security in usually crowded public places including other motor parks, stressing that in matters of security, everybody is a stakeholder.
The crucial meeting was attended by top officials of the FCT Administration, including the FCT Minister of State, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide; Permanent Secretary of FCT, Engr. John Chukwu; Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Yau Gital; chairmen of the six area councils in FCT, the FCT Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu; Director of State Security Services in FCT, Mr. John Okojie; Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Sector Commander; the Commandant of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (FCT); representative of the Nigeria Immigration, the Army and other security agencies, as well as the Chairman of FCT Council of Chiefs, the Ona of Abaji and several other relevant stakeholders in the FCT.
Ochela, a public affairs analyst and commentator on national issues sent in this piece from Wuse Abuja.