Recent attacks by Boko Haram got me thinking about how utterly clueless our security agents and porous our public places are.
You would think that our security agencies should, by now, have mastered the profile of the average suicide bomber, surely these would-be terrorists must always have glazed eyes, surely they must always walk in a particular dodgy manner, surely they must always be seen to be nervous, surely they must have a noticeable twitch on their hands or their lips, their furtive nervous glances around must be quick give aways; they must be seen to be the sweaty ones, the nervous ones checking inside their clothes to see if the wires are still intact.
These are the obvious signs I think, and I only rely on my excessive watching of CI on TV. Our security forces should at least be able to decipher the basic profile of anyone, even one masquerading as a terrorist.
I performed an experiment by carrying a very sharp knife in my bag to several public places that I am aware visitors are thoroughly checked or their bags scanned before they are allowed into the building.
I was shocked to discover that not once was I apprehended!
The people we pay to guard us are not in the least equipped to secure nada, these are people simply looking for any kind of job to put food on the table and the people who employ them don’t think it necessary to train and equip them mentally either, too!
It starts from that gateman in uniform, he can’t read obvious signs, even a novice terrorist will breeze past him; why? Gateman is busy looking for hand outs from generous passers of the gate.
My first place to test was a bank in GRA Ikeja. I would normally drop my bag in the car, but that day, I carried it inside the banking hall, the security agents there were busy saluting and stamping their feet at attention, asking how my day was going, I saluted, too, and clicked my heels for effect…they laughed, they didn’t see the knife!
How did I get past the security door? I raised my bag above my head, I was let in!
I then took my experiment to three malls in Lagos, one on the island and two, the mainland. Again, that guy saluting like a boys scout at the mall, don’t expect him to be the first to sight a would be terrorist and raise alarm, mba! He is busy seeking out a generous hand to drop a 100 naira note, even 50 naira would do just fine! So even when a knife wielding ‘terrorist’ approaches, and tucks in a 200 naira note in a hand that has practiced the art of closing fast before watchful eyes spy him, it’s carry go.
Aha, that hotel, where you need to drop your bag at the entrance for the scanner to check for dangerous instruments, forget it, you will be waved through.
How do I know?
I visited two prestigious hotels, one on the mainland, the other on the island; I was waved through, though I was quite nervous about being discovered to be carrying a dangerous object, i thought they would be more security conscious, being a hotel with foreigners milling around.
So when I passed my bag through the scanner, I fully expected to be told to open the bag for routine check…it saw nothing. And yet the scanner let out a loud beep, but so did the body scanner, the security agents just didn’t check the reason behind the noise. I sailed through, knife in bag.
The most shocking happened at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, yes, our international airport. I was seeing off my partner to the UK. I passed my bag through the compulsory scanner at Gate D. It came out on the other side and voila, I walked free!
I carried the knife around the lounge. I kept waiting to be accosted by an officer, a security agent, someone to challenge me and ask that I hand over the knife in my bag…nope!
Nobody came because nobody saw it!
Now, are these the same sets of people we trust our security to?
No wonder the average Nigerian will say, ‘God is our security,’ abi?