In recent times, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, once synonymous with tranquillity and security, has been gripped by a wave of kidnappings, instilling constant fear among residents. The escalating security challenges, marked by a series of abductions and fatalities, call for immediate and sustainable measures. This is to propose the implementation of robust surveillance and security systems as a long-term solution to counter the growing insecurity in the FCT, potentially serving as a model for the entire country.
The surge in kidnappings and criminal activities in the FCT highlights the necessity for a comprehensive and proactive security approach. Beyond causing fear among residents, these incidents have economic drawbacks as they create the impression of an unsafe environment for observers outside the country and raise legitimate concerns about the efficacy of existing security measures.
The proposed solution emphasises the strategic deployment of surveillance cameras across key locations in the FCT. A comprehensive network covering residential areas, major highways, markets, and other vulnerable spots would offer real-time monitoring capabilities. Intelligent video analytics constitute another crucial component, enhancing surveillance systems to detect suspicious activities, unauthorised movements, and unusual behaviour, thereby facilitating a prompt response from security forces.
Centralised command and control centres equipped with cutting-edge technology would play a pivotal role in ensuring efficient coordination among various security agencies. These centres, designed to enable real-time information sharing, analysis, and decision-making, form a critical infrastructure for the proposed surveillance and security systems.
Community engagement and public awareness are integral aspects of this solution. Involving communities in the surveillance process enhances the effectiveness of the systems. Encouraging citizens to report suspicious activities and collaborate with law enforcement agencies fosters a sense of collective responsibility. Public awareness campaigns would educate residents on the significance of the surveillance initiative and its contribution to overall safety.
Collaboration with technology experts and private entities specialising in security solutions is recommended to bring innovation and efficiency to the proposed surveillance systems. Leveraging advanced technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), drones, facial recognition, and incorporation of the National Identity Number (NIN) into the proposed surveillance and license plate recognition, would significantly enhance the overall security architecture. AI, in particular, can play a pivotal role in data analysis, predictive modelling, and anomaly detection, thus contributing to more effective and cost-efficient security measures.
Drawing inspiration from successful global models, such as Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative, London’s extensive network of CCTV cameras coupled with facial recognition technology, and New York City’s advanced domain awareness system, the FCT can create a blueprint for its own security transformation.
The ownership and strategic direction of this idea should be vested in the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMoCDE). The designation of the FMoCDE as the steward of this initiative is rooted in the overarching framework of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy. The policy, though primarily pivoted on the role of digital technologies in diversifying the Nigerian economy away from oil and gas dependence also centres on creating an enabling environment for doing business, in this case, security. Without a safe and secure polity, there is no business.
The implementation of comprehensive surveillance and security systems in the FCT stands as a viable long-term solution to current insecurity challenges. By learning from successful global models and embracing advanced technologies, particularly AI, the FCT can establish a secure environment. This initiative not only addresses the immediate security concerns but also presents a potential template for other regions in Nigeria, contributing to a nationwide effort to combat crime and ensure the safety of citizens while potentially reducing costs through innovative technologies.