Security expert seeks privatisation of protective measures against school abductions

A security professional, Dr Ona
Ekhomu, has advised the federal and state governments to privatise security of
schools in the northwest to prevent incessant abductions of students by

He said: “Clearly, the governments
don’t have the security personnel to protect all schools. So, they should award
contracts for school security to private security companies who have the
manpower and technologies to protect schools and prevent abductions.”

Reacting to the school kidnaps
within the last week in Kaduna State, Dr Ekhomu, who is the president of the
Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON),
said that: “Private security will act as force multiplication mechanism for the
government security forces if they are contracted to guard schools.”

He said bandits had kidnapped over
600 students since January 2021, including the seizure of 39 students from the
College of Forestry Mechanisation in Afaka, Kaduna State, attempted mass kidnap
of students at Government Science Secondary School, Ikara, Kaduna State and the
abduction of three teachers from the Universal Basic Education School, Rema,
Birnin Gwari LGA, Kaduna State.

Ekhomu, who is the first chartered
security professional in Nigeria, argued that at present, public schools all
over the country were neglected in terms of security measures (or
countermeasures). He described the vulnerability in the schools as “observable
and exploitable.” He said this makes the schools irresistible and tempting
targets for bandits.

The private security contractors
would place personnel at the schools and install physical protection systems
that would result in more robust protection for them such as perimeter fencing,
gates, metal doors on classrooms and dormitories, electronic alarm systems and
air raid siren that would alert security forces if schools are attacked.

“As part of the force multiplication
process, the privatised guard resources will maintain phone or radio contact
with military or police agencies nearby who can give rescue in the event of a
security breach,” he added.

Ekhomu deplored the current security
architectures in the country and said any state that did not have a central
monitoring station like Lagos, Edo, Kaduna is a “failed state.” He asked
rhetorically: “where should citizens call in the event of a distress?”

He urged state governments to get
serious about protection of their citizens. According to him there was a huge
social cost when bandits targeted schools and victimised school children “Apart
from ransom payments to the bad guys which invariably increases their
capability, each incident of successful school abduction deters northern school
kids from gaining western education, which will lift them from endemic poverty
in the future.”

Ekhomu called for the design and
installation of physical security systems in government schools in the
northwest and provision of at least five uniformed private security guards per

He advised that the measures should
be uniform in all government schools, but must provide concentric layers of
deterrence, detection and delay in the event of an attack.

He said: “Soft targets must become target-hardened to prevent the destruction of northern Nigeria’s educational system.”


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