Boko Haram : Counter-Terrorism Expert Proffers 22-Point Solution

SAN FRANCISCO, March 04, (THEWILL) – United Kingdom-based expert on preventive counter-terrorism, Mr. Temitope Olodo, has proffered a 22-point suggestion on how Boko Haram menace could be tame around institutions in the country.

He spoke on the heel of the dastardly killing of 29 students overnight by Boko Haram at a school in Buni Yadi , a remote village in Yobe State.

Olodo postulated that terrorist activities may be deterred through vigilance stressing that awareness and vigilance are the most inexpensive deterrents available to fight terrorism.

He, however, recommended the establishment of a Counter Terrorism Liaison Officer for each Local Government in the country with the view of ensuring appropriate security measures around the councils.

Consequently, the preventive counter terrorism expert advised the Federal Government to establish a care support programme for people that have witnessed the Boko Haram carnage in the country.

“Some of them may need professional help for post-traumatic stress reactions, depression, anger, or other trauma-related mental health problems,” he said, adding that research has shown that 20 percent or more of people exposed to traumatic events typically develop clinically significant psychological problems.

Olodo, in a document obtained by THEWILL , noted that lack of clear Counter Terrorism Strategy in Nigeria is affecting the containment approach adopted against Boko Haram, adding that the situation is worsened due to the inability of Nigeria Armed Force to have a Rapid Response Force to tackle insurgency around the Nigerian borders.

“It is now important that educational institutions have their own counter insurgency risk strategy with clear guidance on how best to contain sudden attacks by terrorist groups”, he said.

Olodo expressed optimism that Nigeria Diaspora Security Experts could develop a robust counter insurgency narrative if given the chance asking; “Is Nigeria government effectively addressing terrorism assumptions underpinning the Boko Haram narratives and is there any evidence of a transition of these policy considerations in positive tangible intervention?”

He also offered some counter terrorism guidance for Nigeria educational establishments. “Prepared schools must train teachers and support staff about evaluation and refine security plans, and test/exercise school crisis plans.

“In hotspot terrorism areas, the school management must encourage personnel to maintain a “heightened awareness” for suspicious activity and to report same. This may include suspicious vehicles on and around campus, suspicious persons in and around school buildings including those taking photographs or videotaping, suspicious packages around the building perimeter and/or in the school, and suspicious information seeking efforts by phone or by unknown “visitors.”

“Terrorist groups would carried out pre-attack survey of the area to understand accessibility and also define their exit strategy. Thus, school management must have their anti-insurgency attack protocols and ensure preventive measures are tested.

“Provide special attention to perimeter security and access control issues. Have clearly defined perimeters for schools through the use of fences, gates, environmental design, signage, and other professional security measures.

“Train custodial, maintenance, and grounds personnel on identifying and handling suspicious packages and items found on campus. Establish routine inspections of the building and grounds by trained facility personnel. Secure roof hatches and eliminate structural items that facilitate easy access to school roofs. Make sure that classroom windows are secured at the end of the school day. Utilise security technology and devices for monitoring and controlling exterior facilities as defined by professional security assessments.

“Review staffing and supervision plans. Stress the importance of adult supervision before, during, and after school, both inside school buildings and on campus, and in common areas such as hallways, stairwells, restrooms, cafeterias, bus areas, and other high-traffic areas of the school campus.

“Encourage staff to maintain a heightened awareness during recess, physical education classes, drop-off and dismissal, and other outside activities. Examine staffing levels and procedures for security personnel, school resource officers and other police personnel, and associated protection personnel.

“Maintain a proactive effort of visitor access and control. Review security procedures for after-school and evening activities and building use. Utilise security technology and devices for monitoring and controlling interior facility access as defined by professional security assessments.

“Verify the identity of service personnel and vendors visiting the school, including those seeking access to utilities, alarm systems, communications systems, maintenance areas, and related locations. Do not permit access and report suspicious individuals representing themselves as service or delivery personnel who cannot be verified.

“Maintain detailed and accurate records of service and delivery personnel including a log (signed in by school personnel) of the full names, organization name, vehicle information (as appropriate), and other identification information.

“Secure access to utilities, student hostels, and other maintenance/facilities operations locations.

“Accessibility to school health and medical preparedness. Evaluate school nurse staffing levels. Make sure that schools maintain an adequate number and level of emergency kits and medical supplies. Maintain a stock of at least three days worth of medications for students required to have medications at school.

“Consider offering first aid/ first responder training to faculty members who are interested in volunteering for such training so as to increase the number of trained individuals available to assist in the event of medical emergencies.

“Conduct a status check of emergency communications mechanisms. Be sure that two-way radio units and cell phones are functioning, and have back-up batteries charged. Make sure that the public address system is fully functioning.

“Review procedures for emergency communications with parents, notify parents in advance how school officials will communicate with them in an emergency, discuss importance of parents not flocking to the school if directed during an active crisis, review family reunification procedures and communicate other relevant information to ease parent concerns.

“Review procedures for mobilizing mental health services for students and staff in the event of a crisis. Plan in advance how trained adults will communicate students with in a time of crisis.

“Be familiar with community mental health resources for families and have plans for securing supplemental mental health services from outside of the school/district in a major crisis.

“Evaluate and enforce employee screening procedures. Review guidelines for subcontractors and identify all individuals working on school property. Implement “information security” programs. Evaluate the storage, access, and security of sensitive information. Create guidelines and conduct periodic assessments of school information security protocol.

“Identify higher-risk facilities, organisations, and potential terrorist targets in the community surrounding schools such entities might include military facilities, government offices and facilities, railroads, etc. Develop appropriate security countermeasures and crisis preparedness planning guidelines accordingly.

“Develop, review, refine, and test crisis preparedness guidelines. Be sure to have guidelines for both natural disasters and acts of violence. Particular procedures for handling bomb threats, hostage situations, kidnappings, chemical and biological terrorism, and related information should be reviewed. Review with staff their specific roles and responsibilities consistent with your crisis guidelines. Identify back-up crisis team leaders in case normally assigned leaders are not at the building or are unable to lead.

“In hotspot areas, the schools in that jurisdiction should setup a School Security Panel that brings together all school security managers to share best practice and develop an insurgency monitoring system.

“The school management board must insist that Nigeria Police Force establish a Counter Terrorism Liaison Officer responsible for advising the school about security measures and best way to engage police support in time of emergency,” he recommended.

Olodo however said all the aforementioned 22 measures are preventive protocols that could be adopted in any educational institutions in Nigeria, adding that it is important that school security managers in a given Local Government or town meet regularly in a network to share intelligence with the support of security agencies in their area.

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