Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika
There is no better proof of the fact that necessity is the mother of invention than the effort by the Nigerian Army to find local solutions to the scourge of Boko Haram, which has unleashed terrorism on Nigeria. The army has become ingenious in designing and creating counter tools and equipment to stave off Boko Haram terrorist attacks.
Thursday, the army authorities unveiled the new anti-bombing device, which it manufactured locally as part of its efforts to tackle the internal security challenge confronting the nation. The army had recently also built Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) locally as well as other war protective gear like bulletproof vests, among other devices.
The facilities were inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan during the 2012 Army Day celebration in Kaduna State, a few weeks ago.
Its latest device was presented yesterday to members of the public and distributed through representatives of Christian and Muslim organisations at the army headquarters, Abuja by the Chief of Civil-Military Relations, Maj-Gen. Bitrus Kwaji. The idea is to put the device to test in worship centres, which have persistently come under attacks by the religious insurgents.
Kwaji said the successful production of the anti-bombing device called "Vehicle Stopper" is a by-product of the vision of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, who charged all corps and services of the Nigerian Army to provide ways and means of curtailing the security menace in the country.
He said: "The unfolding security challenges confronting the nation, amongst which is the Boko Haram terrorist menace, have continued to hinder the progress of the transformation agenda of Mr. President as well as the development of the nation at large.
"The terrorists over the years have continued to attack places of worship (churches and mosques) in order to destabilise the nation. This has necessitated the COAS to charge all corps and services of the Nigerian Army to provide ways and means of curtailing this menace."
"This has yielded a lot of responses as we witnessed the commissioning of an indigenous APC by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces during the recently concluded Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) in Kaduna State," he added.
Kwaji further stated: "In both large and small measures, personnel of the Nigerian Army have taken the COAS charge to heart looking at various ways and means of curtailing insecurity.
"Today, we are gathered here to introduce to you a “Vehicle Stopper,” a device so unique that it can stop any vehicle that comes in contact with it from any direction or angle. Though, this invention is simple the effect is great."
The Chief of Civil-Military Relations noted that the invention has become necessary since the terrorists mainly use vehicles loaded with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
"It has been discovered that most attacks of suicide bombers are being carried out with vehicles loaded with IEDs. The mode of operation is simple as a suicide bomber drives straight into his target and explosion occurs," he explained.
He emphasised that as part of the Nigerian Army's corporate social responsibility, some of the tools are being distributed to churches and mosques which could in turn decide to make more, since the technology is very simple to understand.
"It is the hope of the COAS, that all hands be on deck to safeguard the lives and property of law-abiding citizens in the country, as I am to remind you that security is everybody's business," he said.
The Head of the Engineering Team that produced the latest device who also the Director of Policy, Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen Richard Chioba, explained that the equipment will help reduce car bombings.
Chioba who also led the engineering team that manufactured the first indigenous APC assured the gathering that the innovation will help forestall and immobilise vehicles used for suicide bombings, especially at worship centres.
He said: "In order to disallow bombers from reaching their targets, this invention comes in handy as it forcibly stops any vehicle that comes in contact with it at whatever speed.
"This is the second innovation of the Nigerian Army in its effort to stop the menace of terrorist activities in places of worship."
Meanwhile, the religious leaders, including the Deputy Secretary, National Mosque, Mallam Ibrahim Jega and representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Canon John Paul, collected the new device on behalf of Muslims and Christians respectively.
They both commended the efforts of the Nigerian Army towards taming insecurity in the country.