In its efforts to curtail the security challenges confronting the nation, the Nigerian Army yesterday presented a device known as "vehicular stopper" to nine churches and mosques in the Federal Capital Territory.
Presenting the device to the clergy in Army Headquarters, the chief of army staff, Lt. Gen. Onyeabo Azubuike Ihejirika, represented by Major Gen Bitrus Kwaji, chief of civil army relations, said as part of the army's corporate responsibility, it has developed a device to help fight attacks in places of worship and organisations.
He said the device is "so unique that it can stop any vehicle that comes in contact with it from any direction or angle. Though this invention is simple, the effect is great".
Ihejirika said Boko Haram has continued to attack places of worship in order to destabilise the nation. He explained that this has necessitated the army to provide ways and means of curtailing this menace. The COAS said: "This charge has yielded a lot of responses as we witnessed the commissioning of an indigenous armoured personnel carrier (APC) by the commander-in-chief of the armed forces during the recently concluded Nigerian Army Day celebration in Kaduna State."
The army chief added: "In both large and small measures, personnel of the Nigerian Army have taken the charge to heart, looking at various ways and means of curtailing insecurity." He added that it has been discovered that most attacks of suicide bombers are carried out with vehicles loaded with improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
"The mode of operation is simple, as a suicide bomber drives his vehicle straight into his target and explosion occurs. In order to disallow bombers from reaching their targets, this invention comes in handy as it forcefully stops any vehicle that comes in contact with it at whatever speed."
He called on the general public to be security-conscious: "All hands should be on deck to safeguard the lives and property of law-abiding citizens in the country. Security is everybody's business; we should all join hands with the Nigerian Army in making the country safe for all to live in."
Demonstrating how the device can be used, Major Gen Richard Chioba, army director of policy, who led the team of engineers to assemble the APC, explained: "The four-millimetre angle iron is simple to understand and produce. The advantage of this device is that you can arrange them anyhow you want. All the angles have different purposes and can stop any vehicle. It has been tested in many countries and we have tried it."
Eighteen Hilux vans were loaded with the device nine were sent to different churches and mosques in the FCT.
Speaking on behalf of the religious leaders, Alhaji Ibrahim Abubakar Jega, secretary, Abuja Central Mosque, commended the army for the gesture, saying that it will stop the spate of insecurity in the country and places of worship. He prayed for peace in the country.
It's a welcome development - Police
But a senior officer in the office of the inspector-general of police, IGP, Mohammed Abubakar, who pleaded anonymity, said it is a welcome development. According to him, the IG has reiterated that the fight to overcome the country's security challenges is the collective responsibility of all the security agencies as well as members of the public.
The Boko Haram sect has made places of worship, especially the churches, a prime target of their attacks. A major attack carried out on a church in Madalla, Niger State, on last year's Christmas Day resulted in the death of scores of worshipers.
Hundreds of worshippers have lost their lives in attacks on churches in several states in the north.