Nigeria’s president sets out anti-terror plans

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan announced a series of anti-terrorism initiatives on Monday as he looks to regain control after a wave of attacks in the last week of 2010 rocked Africa’s most populous nation. Among the envisaged measures are

  • The appointment of a special Presidential adviser on terrorism
  • Better coordination between the President and the National Assembly to ensure the speedy passage of the anti-terrorism bill that is before the assembly
  • The launching of four new presidential committees, including a group working on controlling explosives and another to promote (“enlighten”) public security awareness
  • An inspection of police-licensed armories to establish the source of their arms and ammunition
  • The installation of closed-circuit televisions (CCTV) to better monitor public places. (Note: In 2008 CCTV cameras were already installed in Abuja, but after the recent events “the functionality of these gadgets has come under question“.)
  • New regulations for access control for both public and private establishments

Spokesman Niboro said part of the new anti-terrorism measures will be stepped-up security around political events to deter electoral violence.

“In the build-up to the elections, the police have been directed to ensure the prompt arrest and prosecution of political thugs, because this is the time to do that,” Niboro said.

On Monday the Minister of Interior had said the recent bombings were ‘politically motivated’ and “handiwork of detractors who wanted to bring down the present administration of President Goodluck Jonathan”.

VOA explains:

President Jonathan’s response to this insecurity is an issue in his campaign for next week’s ruling-party nomination for president. When he prematurely absolved southern militants of responsibility for the Independence Day bombing, northern politicians said he was acting irresponsibly.

Jonathan’s decision to contest this election challenges an informal regional power-sharing agreement in the ruling party that says the next nominee should be from northern Nigeria. Next week’s contest pits Jonathan, who is from the south, against the northern candidate, former vice president Atiku Abubakar.

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