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Monday, October 18, 2010

Bomb blast: Ekuwem advises govt to use advance tech detectors

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) expert and Chairman, Technology Development Company Limited, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem has called on the government of President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that they deploy advanced detectors in effort at curbing the effect of the recent bomb attack on October 1, this year.

Ekuwem who spoke in Lagos, told ITRealms Online that the growing insecurity in the country is as a result of government’s inability to sufficiently appreciate the urgent need to deploy advanced technologies that could enhance effective security surveillance, monitoring and policing across the nation.

While decrying the recent bomb blast that rocked Abuja on Nigeria’s 50th independence anniversary celebration, Dr. Ekuwem, described the incident as a national shame and serious embarrassment to the government and good people of Nigeria.

Ekuwem also said that all well-meaning Nigerians should be ashamed of this disgrace especially as the ugly incident took place on a day the country marked her golden jubilee of nationhood and many international dignitaries were in Abuja for the celebration.

“The simple fact that the security agencies could not detect the movement of the bomb devices into Abuja and near the Eagle Square where the ceremony took place, is a clear indication that much still need to be done to improve our security surveillance, monitoring and policing operations,” he said, stressing that government should appreciate the enormous power of ICT and leverage on it for national security operations.

There are modern technologies like Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System (VACIS), that enable the scanning of every piece of cargo, container, truck and vehicles that enter Nigeria at the seaports, airports and inland border posts.

“They can capture the number plates, biometrics of the driver as well as photographs and video clips of each port/border crossing into Nigeria by any cargo, container, truck, tanker or vehicle. They can scan on specific highways, roads, check-points, inland waterways, etc. contents of cars, trucks, tankers, boats and ferries as the case may be,” he said.

Ekuwem elucidated that the scanned bulk material data, the image and video could be monitored in-situ, remotely with the same outputs, which could be stored locally and remotely while stored data, could be accessed remotely on a password-restricted basis.

He maintained that if such security surveillance and monitoring facilities were installed in Abuja and other major cities prior to the latest incident, the security operatives would have been able to detect, intercept the bomb and apprehend the criminals.

According to him, there are fixed and mobile scanning devices that could be installed at strategic locations to monitor vehicles and persons with a view to checking the movement of arms and ammunitions including all sorts of dangerous weapons.

Dr. Ekuwem pointed out that mobile VACIS scanning systems would patrol streets and parking lots and detect bombs, explosives, arms, ammunitions and weapons hidden or welded inside the body or chasis of parked vehicles.

He advised security agencies in the country to avail themselves of advanced security-based technologies ranging from intrusion sensing, detection, national identity data capture and management, biometrics data capture and storage, password-restricted access to stored data for both local and remote access, village-wide, town-wide, city-wide, state-wide and nation-wide surveillance (video with bi-directional audio) with local/in-situ, distributed and central/national storage/archiving with password-restricted access as well as with date-and-time-specific playback devices for criminal investigations.

As said by him, Nigeria’s ICT industry could help the nation check the growing insecurity by establishing criminal databases with exciting agency-specific graphical user interfaces for use by law enforcement agencies.

Further, Ekuwem said the government has no reason to appear helpless at this time of serious national security crisis when there is robust ICT sector that could be relied upon for effective preventive remedies.

He insisted that ICT could help with enabling legislations by the National Assembly, to intercept criminal discussions and conversations in ICT networks by criminals prior to or during or after crimes.

“We can enable the retention by telecom operators and Internet service providers of call data and catch word-specific Internet and Intranet content for a reasonably long period of time to aid criminal investigations when queried by appropriate software engines,” he said, noting that this would check crimes at the planning stages and place security operatives ahead of criminals’ activities.

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