Jude Johnson and Babatunde Abiodun
The Nigerian Government has initiated strategies for the countering and containment of chemical terrorism and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
This was disclosed by the Coordinator Counter Terrorism Centre, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Commodore YEM Musa, at the opening ceremony of the National Chemical Security Training Conference in Abuja on Monday.
Musa said the conference is a capacity building initiative aimed at the instance of the Chemical Security Program (CSP) in conjunction aimed at improving security in the Nigerian Chemical Industry.
Oblivious of the fact that nations faced with the threats and dual use of chemical substances and precursor for illicit and criminal activities, have evolved strategies to mitigate, pre-empt and respond to such threats, he sais, Nigeria, has similarly included counter IED initiatives in our National Counter-Terrorism Strategy (NACTEST).
The focus of this Strategy, according to him “is to attack the criminal network of sourcing for the materials used in preparing the IEDs, including the various dual use chemicals, explosives/accessories and specific blends of fertilizers.”
Speaking on the impact of misuse of sensitive chemical and precursor on the nations, he said “he carnage unleashed by terrorists all over the world leading to loss of lives and properties, provides cause for serious concern, which must be adequately tackled. This calls for a concerted approach and efforts by the citizenry and government.”
According to Musa,“the ONSA has over the years investigated series of IED incidents, within the urban terrorism and insurgency theatre of operations and have been able to identify the prevalent types of explosives, accessories, fertilizers and precursor chemicals used in the preparation of the IEDs. IED attacks have become an integral part the Boko Haram Terrorist tactics.”
He said the Centre in collaboration with relevant stake holding Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have emplaced strategic measures to control the importation, transportation, storage and use of these sensitive substances, thereby taking them out of the reach of criminal elements.
The MDAs are: National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) – For Chemical Control; Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) – For Explosives and Accessories Control; and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD)- For Fertilizer Control.
He added that ONSA is also in collaboration with international partners, to hold the first ever National Chemical Security Training Conference in Nigeria. The theme of the Conference, “Towards a Secured Importation, Distribution, Storage and Use of Chemicals in Nigeria”, aptly captures the resolve of the Government towards achieving chemical security in Nigeria.
“Subject matter experts from ONSA, regulating MDAs, the private sector as well as our international partners will be making presentations as well as leading exercises and discussions during the Training Conference. The choice of resource persons from the academia, relevant industries and subject matter experts, from both within and outside the Country, is deliberate to ensure that the best practices regarding Chemical Security is shared among participants”, he said.
He said the National Action Plan on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism is aimed at identifying early warning signs of violent extremism, preempt and prevent it from manifesting. Such acts of violent extremism, he said, is the suicide-bombing phenomenon, a tactic being exploited by the Boko Haram Terrorist especially in the North Eastern part of the Country.