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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Abuja bomb blast: ICT experts berate govt

•Say it could have been averted

EXPERTS in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) have berated the federal government over the last week independence anniversary celebration bomb blast at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) that killed over 10 persons.

Although the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, claimed responsible for the two blasts that rocked Abuja, penultimate Friday, MEND in a statement circulated at about 10 hours on October 1, endorsed by the spokesman, Mr. Jomo Gbomo, insisted there is nothing to celebration at 50.

“With due respect to all invited guests, dignitaries and attendees of the 50th independence anniversary of Nigeria being held today, Friday, October 1, 2010 at the Eagle Square, Abuja, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta is asking everyone to begin immediate evacuation of the entire area within the next 30 minutes. This warning expires after 10.30hrs,” the statement read in part.

They pointed out that several explosive devices were successfully planted in and around the venue by MEND operatives working inside the government security services.

“In evacuating the area, keep a safe distance from vehicles and trash bins. There is nothing worth celebrating after 50 years of failure. For 50 years, the people of the Niger Delta have had their land and resources stolen from them,” the notice added.

MEND also alleged that the constitution of the country before independence offered resource control, but was mutilated by illegal military governments, describing it as an injustice that is “yet to be addressed.”

Reports have it that the Nigeria security agencies claimed they had earlier received a tip-off on Al Qaeda, which paved the way for vehicles packed around the venue to be evacuated, only for this claim by MEND to surface.

While some concerned Nigerians are still trading words over the last week independence anniversary bomb blast, experts in the nation’s ICT sector have blamed the government for not listening to earlier advise proffered at the recently held ICT intervention summit on national security, in Lagos, barely three weeks before the bomb blast.

They argued that the Abuja bomb blast could still be averted with the aid of technologies given the forewarning from the likes of United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, said they were saddened by the unfortunate bomb blast and reflects poor security intelligence gathering in the country.

The government, ALTON chairman said, must invest more in intelligence and surveillance using a combination of terrestrial and satellite based technologies, such as the Closed-circuit television (CCTV). Mobile Telephone services, broadband and of course ground based neighbouhood patrol.

In his reaction, the group managing director of Teledom Group, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, told ITRealms Online that the Abuja bomb blast on the day of nation’s golden jubilee celebration was a national shame and embarrassment, just as he did not agree less with ALTON chairman.

Wondering why Nigerians should be suffering at this 21st century, when technologies abound with capabilities to check-mate the influx of such small arms and ammunitions.

“Why suffer like this when there are VACIS Systems, fixed and mobile, to scan all vehicles that enter Abuja without disrupting traffic?” he bemoaned.

According to him, VACIS scanning would expose all arms, weapons, arms and explosives even if they are embedded by welding within the chassis, boots and trunks of cars, trucks, trailers, and tankers to name a few, without having to physically open the boots.

“Broadband will enable in situation and remote monitoring of scan outputs,” he declared, stressing that precisely on September 7, the ICT industry held a stakeholders summit on ICT response to national security.

“It was endorsed by Association of Telecomm Companies of Nigeria, (ATCON), ALTON, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Information Technology Industry Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National IT Development Agency (NITDA) Digital Sense Africa (DSA) and Joint Action Committee on ICT Awareness and Development (JACITAD) and so on and was attended by all security agencies,” he noted.

Pointing out that may be, they are still writing their reports when we have a serious national emergency, which is a shame.

He emphasised that the security event anchored by Technology Development Company (TDC) of Teledom Group in partnership with Gamnet Solutions Ltd, came out with a communique, warning against what happened in Abuja.

“The Nigerian ICT industry should be painfully proud of this fact that it warned the nation,” he lamented, asserting that there could be no kidnapping, bombing, hired assassination, armed robbery, militancy without transportation of arms, bombs and explosives, weapons among others.

These, he said, could be easily scanned and apprehended at seaports, border posts, airports, roads, highways and inland waterways, and so forth.

As said by him, with lawful interception, criminal database, Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card registration, we can monitor coordination of criminal activities by criminals, using ICT to the rescue.


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