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Ifeanyi Ubah tragedy: I blame security arrangement ~ by Mazi Omife I. Omife


Last Sunday was a very bad day.

When I first heard about what happened to Senator Ifeanyi Ubah’s convoy at Enugwu-Ukwu, I thought it was a mere rumour until it was confirmed.

I really sympathize with Senator Ifeanyi Ubah and the families and friends of those who lost their lives, including my friend and brother, Chief Emma Odum who lost his junior brother in the in the incident.

The author, Mazi Omife I. Omife
The author, Mazi Omife I. Omife

This may not be the best time to blame anybody. But caution should be taken so that such mistake will not be made in the future.

Most convoy movements in Nigeria make the same mistake. Take it or leave it.

How come a whole Senator’s security details were fatally shot in a convoy? In this jet age? If the convoy security details had proper training and orientation, what happened at Enugwu-Ukwu would not have happened.

I have been talking about some fundamental flaws in Nigerian security surveillance practice, especially as it concerns convoy security details to important government functionaries and VIP’s.

What happened to Senator Ifeanyi Ubah’s convoy simply shows that many Nigerian security operatives have refused to grow, glued to the same outdated style.

Most Nigerian security operatives still operate with a mindset of the Lawrence Anini or Dr Ishola Oyenusi era when criminals took their heels on sighting the police or hearing police siren.

The era when policemen in brown knickers, armed with only batons went to make arrests, and everybody ran helter-skelter because people saw the police then as very powerful and never to be confronted.

But today, such security mentality has become outdated and cannot achieve any result in today’s era of terrorists and unknown gun men that confront security operatives in broad daylight which requires a much more strategic, proactive and preemptive approach to security operation and surveillance.

Nigerian security operatives, and the VIP’s they are detailed to protect should now listen and learn.

1. Anytime, anywhere there is a convoy, the security escort vehicles should never be part of the convoy. Most security operatives and VIP’s of today see security escort vehicles as decorations that add colour to convoy which is false.

2. In every convoy setup, security escort vehicles should be at least 20 meters in front and behind the main convoy and should be disguised. This enables the security details to have free movement and clarity of vision to respond instantly and effectively to any security threat to the VIP in the convoy.

3. A situation where the security operatives are hurdled in one or two vehicles , puts both the security details and the VIP at risk in case of attack as the security operatives are not in adequate posture to respond to surprise attacks, such as ambush, as happened in Enugwu-Ukwu and many other places.

4. In every convoy, the security operatives who protect the VIP are the most vulnerable personnel and the main target of any attack in any convoy before the VIP . This makes it absolutely necessary that the security operatives, as much as the VIP, should be bullet-proofed as well, both in attire and operating vehicle.

5. There should never be more than two, at most three security operatives in one vehicle. Anything more than this hinders speed and precision in response to sudden attack as a result of space constriction.

6. A situation where up to five or six security personnel are parked in one vehicle like tin sardine is neither strategic nor sensible. The tragedy of last Sunday could have been less catastrophic if all of the security details were not in the same stretch of convoy.

7. Apart from the VIP’s batsman, other security operatives should as much as possible be in mufti as the target of terrorists and unknown gun men are always on anybody in uniform.

8. At the point of destination, security operatives should not hurdle around the VIP, except the batsman as this exposes them as well as their weaponry and makes them easy target. Other security details should position themselves at strategic points in and around the arena, including some hidden corners.

9. A convoy movement should avoid excessive speed as too much speed hinders accuracy of vision and surveillance.

10. VIPs are strongly advised to restrict information about their movement or destination to their security details and close confidants.

11. The foregoing advice is also applicable to village vigilantes who should also be more discrete in their operations. They should stop appearing at public occasions in uniforms which exposes them to prospective terrorists.

12. They should also not display their weapons brazenly. They should position themselves around the vicinity with their weapons concealed as much as possible.

13. Very importantly, they should organize re-training or re-orientation exercises under competent security organizations, at least bi-annually to keep abreast of current security operation strategies. The same thing goes for bank security operatives.

In these times of volatile security situation, I personally go the extra mile to research on modern security strategies.

How much more important it is for Nigerian security personnel to do the same, even if they don’t have opportunity to go for re-training, which Nigerian security authorities should ensure as a matter of utmost priority in the face of the current critical National security alert.

I am presently making making a special write- up on vigilante security strategy. Read more.

Mazi Omife l. Omife
Mbuze Mbaukwu


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