UPROAR OVER FAILED ABUJA AND LAGOS CCTV PROJECT

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While the bombing at the Nyanya motor park, Abuja, that terminated the lives of about 200 innocent Nigerians is yet to abate, the police recently confirmed 12 persons dead and 19 injured in another bomb blast in the same Nyanya and this provides another opportunity to examine the failure of Nigeria’s security system.
Conservatively, official figures put the death toll at 75 but the public, particularly eyewitnesses put a lie to that and said the casualties cannot be less than 200 considering the number of loaded vehicles affected and those on the queue.
Till date, no person has been apprehended, and even as the leader of the Boko Haram Islamist insurgents, Sheikh Abubakar Shekau, boasted on video tracked on net, claiming responsibility for the blast.
Since the incident occurred, the government’s defence and other security agents have engaged the people in talks and strategies that are mere afterthoughts.
The porosity of the country security has dimmed the hope of many people who have concluded that they may just be made to remain with the palliatives and shoddy defensive remedies until another blast in another location, certainly not Nyanya.
Security experts have located the blame for the defence defects in three areas namely government’s unseriousness, corruption and defective political priorities.
A key denominator for this position is the Close Circuit Television (CCTV), officially called the National Public Security Project ( NPSCSP) which was initiated by the late Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s administration in 2010.
It was to be funded from a $470million credit facility from the Exim Bank of China with 3% interest payable in 10 years.
According to the arrangement, the federal government made an initial payment of 15% amounting to $70.5million.
Under the contract, 1000 units of the CCTV cameras were installed in Lagos and Abuja but none has worked since installed.
The project was abandoned three years after execution and the cameras are now ghost of themselves.
In its conceptualization, the CCTV was to generate voice, video and data using the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology to tackle terrorism, armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes. National WAVES gathered that it was designed to operate through two main switch centres with 12 Base Station Controllers and about 600 Base Transmitting Station Sites with central control unit at the force headquarters in Abuja.
National WAVES investigations show that almost 300 of the camera units and other components have either been vandalized or stolen.  In particular, those installed along the express roads are either felled or mangled with cameras shattered.
Yet it has not occurred to anybody that another ghost project is being consigned to negligence and wished away.
A blame game is going on. The Chinese company,  ZTE Corporation, claimed that it has completed its own part of the contract and handed over while the police insist that the masts, 700 in number, were yet to be mounted because the CCTV does not operate only with cameras. The Federal Capital Territory Administration, on its part, has denied involvement in the project just as the National Assembly is being accused of culpability in the failed project for declining to perform its statutory oversight function.
Besides, a report on the project has been presented to the presidency with no action taken on it.
As huge and monumental as it is, some Abuja residents while taking stock of the Nyanya bomb blast, likened the CCTV to the laughable BRT project for which some plastic dividers were bought and filled with sand. The dividers have been destroyed by vehicles and nobody seems to bother about the cost.
The questions pertinently begging for answers are legion. These are critical questions that should be answered, otherwise the people will be left with no choice than to conclude that this government is institutionalizing the culture of impunity and that there does not seem to be any seriousness to tackle the insurgency and other violent crimes which have held Nigerians hostage.
Security buffs who spoke  guardedly to National WAVES established a nexus between corruption, recklessness and what they termed as ineptitude of the security agencies.
They point to the increasing budgetary allocation to Defence with no commensurable results. For instance, in the 2013 budget, the allocation to Defence was over N668billion, higher than what went to Education and Health.
The inference that is drawn is that the appropriate equipment to counter terrorism are not given priority.
Nigeria is being rated as the 6th most terrorized nation and the situation may degenerate if decisive action is not taken.
– Victory Oghenechoja

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