The United Nations Department for Safety and Security (UNDSS) has alerted Nigeria on the looming complex and coordinated attacks on the nation’s critical infrastructure, calling for urgent review and implementation of anti-terrorism measures.
According to the UNDSS Nigeria, information received indicated an increased likelihood of terrorist activity, including the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and complex attacks against critical national infrastructure and High-Value Targets (HVTs) in Nigeria.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to deploy available resources to combat security challenges causing sorrows and trauma to Nigerians.
The UN agency, in its latest Security Threat Information (STI) and Advisory report on Nigeria said based on the information at its disposal, Boko Haram was likely planning to exploit the momentum of the host government’s strain due to COVID-19 spread to conduct a series of coordinated simultaneous attacks and so weaken the government’s efforts, to disturb and distract military activities in the North-east and to gain greater local and regional attention and acceptance.
THISDAY thursday obtained a copy of the report released on Wednesday by the Chief Security Adviser (CSA) and DSS Representative to Nigeria, Mr. Robert Marinovic.
The report said: “It is assessed that we are at the beginning of the security crisis characterised by a wide spectrum of interconnected crisis (civil unrests, crime and the increasing threat of terrorism), that were fuming for quite some time and now released by COVID-19 impact on the government and population.
In this context, the critical infrastructure are considered any of economic or security entities and their premises (petrol industry installations, banks, governmental facilities, shopping malls, hotels, etc), at any location in the country, especially state capitals, including Lagos and Abuja.
Though the UN in Nigeria is not the primary target for the terrorist activity, it is assessed that the UN can be impacted as collaterally (while visiting governmental installations, banks, shopping malls, e.t.c.), but also as the target of opportunity, if seen to be less protected (‘soft target’).”
The UNDSS added that it had already assessed the likelihood of such terrorist activity and included it in all respective areas of UN Security Management Systems’ (UNSMS) Security Risk Management (SRMs) in Nigeria, stressing that therefore, the strict implementation of and compliance with standing security measures are of paramount importance.
However, the UNDSS recommended among others that Nigeria should ensure that all SRM measures, especially those against terrorism threats, are urgently reviewed and fully implemented.
It directed its Security Focal Points (SFPs) to alert security guards and host government security in and around UN compounds, on the above-described threat so to be vigilant against possible hostile surveillance (that usually precedes terrorist attack).
It said UN personnel should patronise only neighborhood markets and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), rather than big shopping malls or banks, to avoid unnecessary risk.
It also advised that emergency phone numbers (emergency contact card distributed by UNDSS SWA) should be kept handy at all times; while respective Security Operations Centres (SOC) should be informed of all suspicious movements/observations.
It also urged SFPs to circulate and disseminate the message to their respective personnel.
Buhari Renews Pledge to End Security Challenges
The president yesterday renewed his commitment to deploy resources to combat security challenges causing sorrows and trauma to Nigerians.
Buhari, while presiding over a meeting of the National Security Council, the country’s highest security body, in the State House, Abuja, said he would redouble his effort in ensuring the realisation of the primary responsibility of government, which is to ensure the safety of lives and property.
The meeting was reportedly called by the president following the recent upsurge on security challenges pervading some parts of the country, particularly in Kaduna and Nasarawa States.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd.), said he briefed the council on the current security crisis bedeviling the country, especially on terrorism in the North-east, banditry in other parts of the country, the emergence of more groups and rising cases of kidnappings in recent times.
He said the council was informed on the necessity for all security agencies and all other agencies of government as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to collaborate effectively with a view to tackling the challenges.
Monguno stated that Buhari pledged to deploy resources to counter the menace.
He added that the president was conscious of the constitutional provision that the primary responsibility of the government is the security of citizens.
Against this background, he said the president promised to double efforts on security matters.
He said: “I, as national security adviser presented a couple of memos to the council in relation to the current security challenges faced by Nigeria and of course these are issues that revolve around the insurgency in the North-east, banditry, and emergence of all kinds of groups that are not essentially bonafide.