NIGERIA: Maximising Technology in Addressing Insurgencies

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Read Time:7 Minute, 27 Second
No doubt, the Boko Haram insurgency has caused losses of lives and properties, and untold misery and pains to relatives of victims.
The frequency at which the sect launches its violent attacks is rising daily. Its unholy activities have created fears and uncertainty among Nigerians, even those outside the North East region where it is based.
The apprehension is high as no body is sure when the next attack will be launched and government has been left befuddled as it has found it increasingly difficult to provide security for the citizenry.
But some security experts have said the only solution to put the painful situation under control is for government to invest in technology to monitor effectively and nip in the bud any insurgency and criminal acts.
They have blamed government for not deploying technology devices across the country that will address security challenges. They equally blamed government for its slow responses to various attacks in the country, and have therefore called on government to, as a matter of urgency, deploy technology devices across the country in order to restore peace and confidence of Nigerians.
Deploying Appropriate Technology
Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem is a telecoms engineer and a security expert by training. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Teledom Group, with head office in Lagos. He is worried of the attacks from the Boko Haram sect and told THISDAY in an exclusive interview that activities of the sect appear unabated, just because government is slow to do what it is supposed to do.
According to him, members of the sect are not spirit, but humans with blood running in their veins that could be easily monitored and their activities curtailed, if only government listens to security experts and deploy the right and appropriate technology.
"I am a security expert and I have reputable international partners on security matters, and I have had meetings with the National Security Council, where I severally did demos of latest security gadgets that can address insurgencies in the country, but each time the demo is done, the government applaud it, but will not be quick to deploy it, even though it is affordable," Ekuwem said.
Although he spoke on several technology devices that could address the situation, but laid particular emphasis on VACIS technology, known as Vehicle And Cargo Inspection System.
According to him, it could come as mobile technology that is installed in a moving van, or as stationary technology that could be installed in strategic positions on major roads and road junctions.
The technology which is the latest among security devices, has Gama Ray that is capable of penetrating up to 6.5 inches steel and concrete walls to scanning objects within seconds.
Apart from roads, VACIS could be installed at seaports, airports and border posts of a country.
Ekuwem explained that if installed and appropriately utilised, it could detect explosives on human bodies, and in cars that are in motion, without necessarily stopping the car for search as it is currently done by security agents.
Speaking on how the device works, Ekuwem said, when installed, it can detect explosives, capture the image of those in the car carrying the explosives, and prompts security agencies through sound alert or email or text alert on the mobile phone that is programmed with it.
The mobile VACIS is installed in a moving vehicle that could be parked along major roads or strategic locations. It comes with CCTV and IP cameras that can capture images of crime perpetrators and sent such images to a Security Network Operator Centre (SNOC), from where the images of the person or persons are processed and sent to various security devices that would be mounted at public places, airports, eateries, to match the faces of people with the image already captured and declared wanted by security agents.
He explained that there were equally security network operator sensors that could be installed in bush parts that could monitor the movement of people at midnight and capture all night activities and plans to wreck havoc on society. The sensors capture images and send them through broadband connectivity or WiFi to the nearest security network centres.
Cost of Deployment
Speaking on the cost of deployment security expert said most technology devises that address security issues are not expensive to deploy, and could save lives and property worth trillions of naira.
They called on government to seek expert opinion on security matters in order to address the security challenges in the country.
The Importance of Broadband
Broadband has become a major force to reckon with, when it comes to deployment of security devices, as most of them are built to work effectively with the speed of broadband.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has been at the forefront in addressing the spread of broadband in the country, even in the rural communities. Security experts that spoke on the importance of broadband in deploying security devices, said there would be no effective technology device on security issues, without adequate broadband to carry capacities of information and images by the device sensors.
According to experts views, after the IP cameras and the surveillance cameras have captured suspected images, it needs the broadband channel to convey the information and the images to a Security Network Operator Centre for further analysis by security experts. If there is a shortfall in bandwidth, then the effectiveness of the technology device will be slowed down and the aim defeated, they said.
In technical parlance, broadband is a wide channel in the cyberspace that transports internet capacities at a very high speed, leading to internet connectivity and access.
The Role of NigComSat
The Nigerian Communication Satellite (NigComSat), has a communication satellite that was launched into space in 2011.
Though it was the second communication satellite that was launched into space called the NigComSat 1R, after the first was de-orbited after a successful launch, the NigComSat 1R satellite is designed to monitor all ground activities and to send security report to a Security Network Operating Centre, via broadband.
However, that function, which could have been able to address the security challenges in the country, is redundant because there are no installed security gadgets in the country, for the satellite to work with.
If there are enough installed security devices across the country, and there are enough bandwidth and again the communication satellite is effective, then Nigeria would have addressed the Boko Harm insurgencies long before now, security experts told THISDAY.
Huawei Security Technology
Also worried about the security challenges in the country, Huawei, a technology and security company has called on the federal government to invest more in Intelligent Video Surveillance (IVS) solution, in order to address the rising insecurity situation in the country.
Huawei and its solution distribution partner, Computer Warehouse Group, told THISDAY that Huawei's Intelligent Video Surveillance solution could address the insecurity situation in the country, if adequately deployed.
Apart from addressing nationwide insecurity, the technology companies said the IVS  solution could also address personal security in homes and offices, as well as organisational security, with low bandwidth consumption, which makes the solution cheap but effective.
Enterprise Solution Manager at Huawei, Mr. Joseph Olayemi said the Intelligent Video Surveillance solution from Huawei, works differently from every other IP surveillance camera, because it uses low bandwidth connectivity, which enables easy deployment at reduced cost of ownership.
The bandwidth connectivity, he added, would enhance sharp image capturing at high speed, which could be streamed online to a central intelligent point, from different locations and from different branch locations.
The security solution, he said, could be configured to generate alarm that could be connected to mobile phones and email address to alert its users when the need arises.
Although Olayemi explained that the IP cameras could cover a distance of about 20 to 25 metres for indoors and outdoors surveillance, a Senior Solution Manager at Huawei, Mr. Michael Lee further told THISDAY that with the bandwidth connectivity features, the solution could enable the IP cameras to cover distances above 10 kilometres using the Wireless Fidelity (Wi Fi) connectivity.
According to Lee, outdoor IP cameras could be installed at distant positions of over 10 kilometres apart and connected to each other with Wi Fi technology or with the Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, which enhances its efficiency in capturing images of unwanted persons, even from far distances.
The security challenges in the country deserve prompt responses from government and government cannot achieve this without deploying the appropriate technology that could address the challenges. It is therefore important that government begin to take security matters in the country seriously, by seeking expert opinion and by deploying the right and most appropriate technology.
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