Schools’ protection, terrorism top global security discourse - Precious Igbonwelundu for The nations,Nigeria

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For four days, 22,000 public and private security experts across the world met in Dallas, United States of America  (USA) to deliberate on current threats and proffer solutions. Correspondent Precious Igbonwelundu who attended the conference reports that school security, border protection, and terrorism topped the discussions.
Despite the devastating Hurricane Harvey that hit Texas, United States of America (USA) last month, thousands of security experts from.96 countries converged on the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Centre in Dallas for the 63rd annual seminar of American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS).
The tone of the conference, which held between September 24 and and 28 was set by former US President George Bush, with his perspectives on the current threat and the risks, potentials of innovative technologies reshaping society and the way businesses are conducted.

Organised in partnership with InfraGard and ASIS, the event had 180 lecture sessions with the majority of them on security threats in schools, terrorism, cybersecurity and border security.

Others include General Manager Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, Isa Inuya, Group Executive Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation  (NNPC) Sam Onobueje, former ASIS International President, Dave Tyson,  and CSOs of First Bank, Airtel, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Fidelity Bank and Chevron Nigeria, among others.
Delivering a lecture on schools’ protection, Ekhomu said Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children globally, with a record 11 million of the total world figure of 20 million.
He said the country’s record was triggered by attacks by Boko Haram insurgents, kidnapping and militancy.
According to him, 146 teachers and 314 pupils were killed by Boko Haram insurgents last year, adding that the terrorist group got $50 million for the release of 21 Chibok Girls.
On the way forward, he said visitor screening procedures,  text-a-threat programme, security and safety clubs, profiling of school workers, threat assessment teams and first responders should be put in place as mitigation measures.
Already, Ekhomu said some states such as Lagos have taken steps such as school commissionaires to contain cases of kidnapping, cultism, and hooliganism.
For Borno State, he explained that hunters and vigilante services have been subscribed by school authorities to aid the police and military at insurgency zones.
He emphasized the need to brief members of school population about potential threats in their areas and steps to take.
Also, Ekhomu said schools should be fenced, metal doors with at least two bolts should be used for classrooms, offices, and hostels, adding that concrete bollards be used in areas of VBIED threats.
For electronic security measures, he said there must be Close Circuit Television (CCTVs), Intrusion Detection System (IDS), Panic Alarm System (PAS), Fire Alarm System (FAS), Electronic Access Control System and Mass Notification Systems.
Ekhomu said: “The lives of school populations matter. So, proprietors and governments must do more to protect them. Mitigation strategies should comprise the classic 4Ds of security. However, resource constraints in emerging economies often impoverish mitigation options.
According to ASIS’ spokesperson, Peggy O’Connor, the association organized security cares programme for Dallas Community on security preparedness and prevention for small, medium scale businesses and public institutions.
She said CityLab High School was awarded a $22,000 grant and additional in-kind donations from Axis Communications to support campus-wide security upgrades.
Also, Omnigo Software showcased BLERT, an innovation which empowers college students to instantly and anonymously report incidences from their mobile phones as easily as sending a text message or sharing a video.
The Blert! dashboard allows campus safety directors to monitor reports and instantly communicate with students who initiate a report.
According to an executive of Omnigo Software, Bobby Robertson, their mission was to help ensure a world with safer tomorrows.
He said: “Our mission is to help ensure a world with safer tomorrows by giving security professionals the tools they need to prevent threats from becoming incidents. This new offering delivers on that promise by combining some of the best software tools available.
“Omnigo Software serves law enforcement, education, healthcare and other enterprises. The suite includes more than 25 tools to manage incidents and prevent future ones including special modules for detection, response, reporting, remediation, and prevention.”

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