By Ibrahim al-Hassan
Just last week precisely on Thursday, 12 May, 2022, the Federal Ministry of Interior lunched an online database application known as ‘Nigeria Internal Security and Public Safety Alert System (NISPSAS)’. The imperative for developing the new App as revealed by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Shuaibu Belgore in his welcome addressed during the lunching, owed to the incidents of insecurity in its various dimensions in Nigeria and the need to prevent the frequent occurrence of man – made disasters.
While buttressing the reasons for the new approach, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in his comments at the occasion said that the intention was to involve citizens in generating timely intelligent information, towards addressing the myriads of security challenges in the country. He noted that these challenges include: insurgency, terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry, ritual killings, cattle rustling, herdsmen and farmers clashes, homicides, inter-communal clashes, gender – based and electoral violence, among others. He noted that there are other natural disasters like flooding, fire, erosion, landslides and land degradation among others.
The Minister further decried the consequences of heightened security challenges in the country, and that globally occasioned by the recent outbreak of COVID-19 which he said crippled socio-economic lives across the world.
He emphasized that it halted economic activities, affected corporate, family and individual incomes, creating situations of deprivation that led to frustration and ultimately aggression. Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola assured the gathering that the Government has committed and will continue to commit unprecedented amount of resources to addressing insecurity with personnel and equipments.
He espoused as good news that the Government is winning and even though there are still occasional flashes, the heightening figures have continued to dwindle as more criminals have been apprehended and others deterred. According to him, just as peace is returning to the hitherto troubled areas, one noticeable lacuna has been the lack of information and timely alerts to the security agencies on incidents of crime, breach of security and natural disasters before they happen or while they are going on. He averred that in most cases, they would have been prevented or mitigated if the alerts were timely.
He reiterated that as part of the response to the challenge, the Federal Ministry of Interior developed the application, as a technological innovation that works with the smart mobile phone or any other devise with android or iOS capability to send alerts to all security agencies on time. “The initiative is in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration’s policy of making the security of lives and the property of Nigerians a priority. It is also part of the objective to leverage on Information and Communication Technology in doing government business and operations,” the Minister stated.
In drawing the attention of the gathering to the outcome of the ‘Economy Digital Policies and Strategy’ (NDEPS) under the purview of the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy (FMCDE) in 2019, he said it had the goal of driving the digitization of the national economy and related sectors to which the security sector was one key component.
Aregbesola intensified that it is to this end that the Ministry designed and is now deploying the Nigeria Internal Security and Public Safety Alert System (NISPSAS) Mobile Application for joint operations and monitoring of the preparedness of the Services and the Nigeria Police.
He adhered that the App is a tool to enable the public access real-time response to distress and emergencies in the areas of crime, fire, flood and medical ambulance services etc. He also hinted that the App utilizes a combination of audio-visual and geo-spatial location in identifying the caller and scenes of incidents on the Ministry’s Inter-Agency Situation Room (MISR) and Command and Control Centres as well as the dashboards of the four Services and the Police Headquarters for joint inter-agency operations. “Security is the responsibility of every one. We all have a role to play and the most important is being vigilant.
As it is often said, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” the Minister stressed, emploring Nigerians to be conscious of what is going on in their environments.
He argued that it is practically impossible to kidnap scores of school children and transport them within a reasonable distance on motorbikes or other vehicles without some people noticing them. He explained that they would have to pass through streets, roads, farms and bush paths and would be seen by some people.
The Minister expressed belief that the individuals who threaten the peace of the country and undermine the security system, hardly come to the communities unaware. He avowed that for most part, they are part and parcel of community lives, sharing the same apartment, commuting in the same vehicles, patronising the same markets, working in the same offices, proximate farms and workshops.
He affirmed that some of their unusual activities and character dispositions that are antithetical to peace, security, public order and good neighbourliness may have been noticed in one way or the other.
“Besides, it is hardly easy to conceal weapons and other instruments of crime for long. Reporting such to the security agencies will go a long way in addressing the problems – preventing attacks, rescuing victims, apprehending criminals and putting them away for good such that they will not be able to hamper the society and community again,” the Minister revamped. “
“This is why this Application is rightly tagged: ‘See Something, Do N-Alerts’. You will be saving lives and securing your community.” He enjoined all Nigerian citizens and Non-Nigerians resident in the country to take advantage of the App by downloading it on their cellphones and other devices through the Android Playstore and iOS store as it is free – of – charge. The Interior Minister commended his predecessor, Lt. General Abdurahman Bello Dambazau for initiating the project which has come to fruition. He also acknowledged that the project is his product, saying he deserved a special invitation to the flagging off ceremony.
He appreciated the support from the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy as well as the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for their support.The Minister of Information & Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed in his address congratulated the Ministry of Interior for the feat and pledged his Ministry’s readiness to synergize with the Interior Ministry in creating awareness through the various platforms of the Ministry such as FRCN, NTA, NAN and VON relating to utilisation of the new App to address the security menace in the country.
The dignitaries present at the event included: the Minister of Information & Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba who was represented by AIGP Bala Ciroma; the Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment and all the Chief Executives of the Paramilitary Services in the Ministry.
Ibraheem Al-Hassan, Information Officer Writes from the Ministry of Interior, Abuja.