By Abraham Olatunbosun
The Federal Government has said the nation is already winning the war on insecurity, insisting that what is presently happening are occasional flashes of attacks on soft targets.
The government also claimed that the numbers of attacks continue to go down as more criminals are apprehended and others are deterred, just as peace continues to return to hitherto troubled areas.
This claim was made by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, at the launch of the Nigeria Internal Security and Public Safety Alert System (N-Alerts), held on Thursday in Abuja.
He said: “The good news is that government is winning. The government has committed and continues to commit unprecedented amount of resources – human and material – to addressing the security challenges in the country, with personnel and equipment spread thin.”
The Minister was however of the opinion that many attacks would have been foiled if the security agencies had been notified in real time, hence the need for a common platform that can interface the public with the security agencies.
He said: “One noticeable lacuna is information and timely alert of the security agencies to incidents of crimes, breach of security and natural disasters before they happen or while they are going on. In most cases, they would have been prevented or mitigated if the alert had come in time.”
The Minister added that: “As part of the response to this challenge, the Ministry of Interior has therefore developed an application, a technological innovation that works with the smart mobile phone or any other devise with Android or IOS capability, to send alerts to all security agencies in real time.
“The initiative is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration policy of making the security of lives and property of Nigerians a priority. It is also part of the objective of leveraging on Information and Communication Technology, in doing government business and operations.”
The Minister who announced that the Application is free to use for Nigerians, further noted that for now, it only works on smart devices and encouraged all Nigerians to download it for use.
He explained that: “The App utilizes a combination of audio-visual and geospatial location identification of the caller and scenes of incidents on the Ministry Inter-Agency Situation Room (MISR) and Command and Control Centres, Dashboards of the four Services and Police Headquarters for joint inter-agency operations.”
Aregbesola said: “You will recall that the Federal Government launched the National Economy Digital Policies and Strategy (NDEPS) under the purview of the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy (FMCDE) in 2019 with the goal of driving the digitization of the national economy sector as well as related sectors to which the security sector is one key component.
“It is to this end that the Ministry designed and is now deploying the Nigeria Internal Security and Public Safety Alert System (N-Alert) Mobile Application for joint operations and monitoring of the preparedness of the Services and the Nigeria Police. This is a tool to enable the public access real-time response to distress and emergencies in the areas of crime, fire, flood, medical ambulance services etc.”
Also speaking at the event, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, congratulated the Ministry for the launch of the app, saying it is coming at a time when Nigeria most needs it.
On his part, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed, pledged the support of his ministry, the National Orientation Agency and other departments and agencies under his ministry in promoting and publicizing the Application for the use of Nigerians.
In his welcome speech, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr. Shuiabu Belgore, thanked the former Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, for initiating the project and also taking out time to attend the launch of his initiative.
Also at the event were the Former Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau; Head of Civil Service of the Federation, represented by Dr. Ngozi Onwudiwe; Inspector General of Police, represented by AIG Bala Ciroma; Controller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa; Controller General of the Federal Fire Service, Abdulganiyu Jaji; Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, represented by DCG Haliru Gishiri; Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, represented by ACG Zakari Ninji; Permanent Secretaries of Communication and Digital Economy, Williams Nwankwo; Special Duties/Inter-Governmental Affairs, Ibiene Roberts; Education, David Adejo; Science and Technology, Monisola Udo; Defence, Ibrahim Kana; Police Affairs, Tope Fasedemi amongst others.