Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bombing of UN office: Stakeholders condemn act, insist ICT’s not failed

The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) stakeholders in the country have condemned the last Friday bombing of the United Nations headquarters at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, insisting that ICT has not failed UN in aiding interception if not complete foiling of the bombing.

Speaking on the bombing which claimed the lives of over 23 persons, some of the stakeholders called on the Federal Government to tackle the issue of security of lives and properties with all seriousness.

ITRealms Online recalled that the bombing of UN’s headquarters in the country occurred in spite of reported high-level of security across all UN offices globally with Nigeria not being an exception.

An Islamic sect, Boko Haram has since claimed responsibility for the attack on UN office in Abuja.

In his reaction, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo said that the attack on the UN office, is condemnable.

He also said that this further re- affirms that as a people; the threats that we face are real, describing terrorism as a global challenges that could only be surmounted through a united front.

“Terrorism is a global problem and this shows that we face similar threats as other nations,” he said, enjoining the federal government to take it very seriously by deploying every available Information and Communication Technology (ICT) resources to support the security and intelligence services.

Also speaking, the president, Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Dr. Jimson Olufuye noted that Boko Haram has taken the issue beyond the shores of Nigeria and has further damaged Islam as a religion fit for the modern world of civility, tolerance and peaceful co-existence.

The Information and Communications Technology, he argued, has not failed UN, but rather the problem is the human factor for which lessons would be learnt and corrective measures taken against a repeat in the future.

Equally reacting, the immediate past president of the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem corroborated Olufuye, saying that ICT has not failed UN.

“We have failed UN and those innocent casualties of the blast. ICT had put the Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System (VACIS) at the disposal of all relevant security agencies,” he said.

According to Ekuwem, who is the executive vice chairman, Teledom Group International, the speed of government and security agency responses is appallingly low.

“Bombs did not fly into Abuja; they were transported by road through the entrances of the city. Why haven’t we installed VACIS to scan all vehicles entering the city? We don’t have mobile VACIS at checkpoints and for routine patrol of the city? Abuja does not have a city-wide Security Network Operating System (SNOS). If it does, we could trace the suicide bomber to where his journey began in Abuja,” he said.

Obinna Chisom-Nze, a Lagos-based media practitioner, said that the advice of Ekuwem proffering solution with capability to scan vehicles is reassuring and federal government should make haste to install relevant technologies to curb and check insurgence. “Oh! How reassuring. Hope they are installed soon.”

For ICT enthusiast, Mr. Seun Ojedeji, if technology was the bane of the United States 9/11 attack, he blamed the failure to arrest the situation before hand as human decisions. “… It’s rather human intentional decisions.”

The chief executive officer, Skannet, Mr. Sunday Folayan said that there is no technology that could deter people from being nasty, adding “No ... technology is not an all size fits all,” corroborating Seun.

Software architect, Mr. Emmanuel Amos, pointed out that the Intelligence that man lacks as a system and because as a global challenge could not be blamed on ICT.

“The people have failed technology by evading its use for socio-economic benefits - it does not matter whether it is UN. We can only be better prepared as a society,” he urged.

Just as the Executive Director, ExpertEdge Software & Systems, Mr. James Okwudili Agada wondered why anybody would say that ICT or technology has failed due to terrorism attack, asserting, “Very soon ICT will be blamed for life and death. For whatever it’s worth, technology is a tool.”

ITRealms Online recalls that the United Nations, presently made up of 192 member countries including Nigeria is based in New York, United States; is an organization of sovereign nations who have volunteered to work together to promote global peace, security, human rights and development.

The organization has, since 1945, provided the machinery to help find solutions to disputes or problems and to deal with virtually any matter of concern to humanity.

In Nigeria, the United Nations country team is made up of 17 agencies, namely the FAO, IFAD, ILO, IOM, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UN-HABITAT, UNHCR, UNIC, UNICEF, UNODC, WHO and WMO; working together, and with the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to promote the issues on the development agenda of the organization.

The UNCT, under the leadership of the Resident Coordinator, presently works on a joint development plan for the country within the United Nations Development Assistance Framework, now in its second phase.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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