MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
As Nigerians mourn the death of a female young Doctor, Megafu Chinelo and others killed last Monday in the terrorists’ attack of Kaduna bound train, some front line Nigerian security equipment integrators have blamed the Federal Government for not being proactive enough to prevent the disaster.
One of the integrators and Managing Director of Kontz Engineering limited, Engr. Mustspha K-Lusty told AtlanticNewsonline that the terrorists’ attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train could be likened to building a high rise apartment and after construction of the entire structure, the owner realizes that there is no security device in place to protect, deter or prevent unwanted Intruders or forestall unforeseen circumstances.
The Kontz Engineering boss whose company ranks among foremost security equipment firms in Nigeria recalled an encounter he had a few years ago with the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amechi when the rail tracks were being constructed.
“I was privileged to meet the Minister. I told him, the railway construction is a fantastic multi billion naira investment, that the best we could do is to put security devices in place which will help to alert us, prevent attack and have a command centre where there can be monitoring of the rail, of passengers and so on.
“The Minister smiled at me and said those things have been taken care of. The scenario that played out on Monday during the attack on the Abuja-Kaduna Train is like when you buy an expensive car and refuse to insure it. The terrorists’ attack was what we could get when we build a rail line without being mindful of its security. I expect we should have 24 hours security monitoring devices.”
Another security equipment dealer and Managing Director of Viseum Integrated Security Company; Mr. Emmanuel Onuorah believed that the Abuja-Kaduna train attack occurred because “our leaders are not proactive. Those concerned should have been able to see some pictures of it ahead. If many things were put in place, those bandits and terrorists could have been tracked.”
“There is a lot to do in surveillance both day and night. We have approached them severally on this matter that we will be able to know of what happens even in total darkness. The technology is there. It is just for somebody to take a bold decision and do the needful.”
The National President of the Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria (ALPSPN) Dr. Wilson Esangbedo noted that the challenge facing the country is that the use of manual security procedure in preventing crime from occuring is still in vogue.
According to him, “If you had listened to President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech, before this time, there was a memo he had approved for integrated security system that would help dictate criminal issues like planting of Explosive Ordnance Devices (EODs) along rail track. As you know, the Nigerian factor of delaying approvals and implementations largely accounted for what happened on the Monday train attack. If the President had approved as he said, the question is why the delay in the implementation? Why do we wait for the ugly incident to occur before we took action.”
“Remember there was an incident last October and Government promised to provide helicopter to escort the trains from one point to the order. The railway system is the safest means of transportation and we ought to physically protect its infrastructure. Regrettably, our leaders like to pay lip service to issues of security. It is only when people get killed that there is a wake up call.”
A former military personnel and currently the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of AugustEye Security, Dr. Roy Okhidievie, like most Nigerians, is saddened by the Monday attack on AK9 Abuja-Kaduna train over the loss of precious lives. His sadness is worsened by the Minister of Transport’s unguarded early reaction to the attack whereby he expressed much worry over the estimated cost of repairing the damaged train and rail tracks than the human lives lost in the incident.
In his words, “one thing that we need to know is, the body language of those at the helm of affairs will directly impact on the opportunities to mitigate crime by security agencies. One is the reason the military and other agencies are having issues. There is always lack of accountability and the executive non-chalance.”
“There was a warning from the DSS about the possible attack. There was also a report indicating a possible attack at night on train but because there was this audacity not to hold any one accountable, people lose focus and calamity occurred.”
“The Minister was more concerned about N3billion for repairing the damage caused by the attackers, whereas it would have cost less than half of that amount to put security measures to protect the rail line.
A security consultant; Mr. Emmanuel Bassey who began his career in the former Nigerian Security Organization (NSO), said “there is no synergy as regards the security agencies. It is only said verbally but implementation is lacking. Intelligence whether raw or processed is very paramount in decision making.
“I was going through Minister of Transport, Amechi’s report. He said it that at the Federal Executive Council that they should be security protection of the rail line, but his colleagues objected why because they did not feel the need for that.”
The Chief Security Officer of Airtel, Mr. Oluwaseyi Dickson Adetayo did not think that the security personnel attached to the Nigerian Railway Corporation have the capacity to prevent the attack on the trains as occurred on Monday.
According to him, the police there are just posted for policing duties of ensuring that passengers and their luggage are in order. At best, they can offer some minimal counter attack to hijackers but certainly not terrorists of the type who struck on Monday. The police do not have the capacity to monitor rail tracks.”
A retired Army Colonel; Dan Amuta currently the Managing Director of Padview Security commenting on the Abuja-Kaduna Train attack has this to say: “Before you talk of security agencies nipping in the bud the attack, bear in mind that it was explosive and it was not at the rail way station it occurred. It occurred on the track while the train was on motion in transit. Security agents are no magicians. They cannot know everything everywhere.
“The fact that security agents cannot be every where makes it imperative that some measure of surveillance would have been put in place which would invariably reduce the level of damage. If there was a mini train to do a security sweeper’s job of clearing the rail line of any explosive device buried anywhere ahead of passenger trains, such a calamity would not have occurred,” he argued.