Following a bomb blast in Nyanya Motor Park in Abuja, on Monday, the Deputy Director, Public Relations of the Department of State Security (DSS), Marilyn Ogar, on Wednesday announced that the government had provided a national emergency short code, 112 as part of the efforts to combat terrorism and other life-threatening issues.
The 112 short code is toll free.
She made the announcement while appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, stressing that the number, which was provided by the Nigerian Communications Commission, had been in existence for some time.
The attack on the bus park, which no terrorist group has claimed responsibility for, led to the death of over 70 people, injuring over 100 others.
The DSS spokesperson, who said the agency had carried out sensitisation activities in motor parks after the bomb blast in a Kano bus park, chose not to blame anyone for the attack but went further to state that all Nigerians were at fault.
Asked if security measures adopted for motor parks in conjunction with the police had been relaxed, Ogar said: “The fight on terror is quite new to us and you must keep at it on a continuous basis”. She further assured Nigerians that the agency had engaged proprietors and stakeholders of the park.
“I think it’s our thing. We are quite complacent. When an event happens, everybody talks and goes at it but once there’s a little bit of respite, we all go back to sleep.”
“The best form of defense is awareness. Be aware and alert always. I want to also say security forces have severally embarked on sensitaisation, awareness and trying to bring up to consciousness of people or operators of various motor parks,” she said.
She stressed that the agency had not given up its duties, regarding information-gathering on criminals, but called on citizens to be more vigilant as “you cannot have security agents on every street and in every nook and cranny of the country. We need people to give us information”.
The Federal Government has invested a lot in fighting terrorism and ending the Boko Haram insurgency, suspected to be responsible for the Nyanya blast. However, Ogar said the only way to succeed was for the citizens to set aside politics and other elements that divided them to combat the menace collectively.
“If we must rid the society of terrorism, then there must be a collective drive irrespective of tribe, religion, political affiliation and age. It must be all collective,” she said, urging citizens to be security conscious at home, business, worship areas and anywhere else.
She insisted that criticism would be pointless and advised that “instead of sitting down and criticising when we have some misfortunes, we must collectively come together as a people”.
Ogar posited that “what happened in Nyanya could have been avoided if people did what they needed to do. I wouldn’t really want to say I want to blame any person. I want to say that we all as Nigerians have failed.”
She, however, pointed out that security agencies in Nigeria were not sleeping,
“All security forces are on the red alert. We are re-strategising, bringing up new methods and best practices (as to) how we would be able to stem this evil scourge.”
“I think the time has come for Nigerians to rise up collectively and begin to work towards bringing this whole thing to an end.”
She disclosed that plans were underway to install CCTV cameras at motor parks and further called on citizens to note some security tips, urging them to be vigilant in regarding new faces in the environment, unknown cars parked without notice at public places, commercial or residential areas, strange objects, containers.
She further urged citizens not to leave items such as drums and broken chairs beside their fences.
In case of bomb blasts, they should not go near the scene or tamper with objects there.
All religious centres are to have their own local committees to keep watch over vehicles, and events in and around the centres.
Other emergency numbers (not toll free) are: 081-3-2222-105, 081-3-2222-106, 081-3-2222-107, 081-3-2222-108, 081-3-2222-109.