Can the Nigerian Tech Space help make the Nation Safer?

THE REPEATED SECURITY BREACH ON LIVES AND PROPERTIES IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY CALLS FOR A SOLUTION THAT COULD BE PROVIDED BY TECHNOLOGY.

 Nigerian Police Force Inspecting a scene after a bomb attack // Source: www.informationng.com/

Nigerian Police Force Inspecting a scene after a bomb attack // Source: www.informationng.com/

Nigeria was last year rated as the 15th most dangerous country in the world. However, today there has been a decline in the frequency of the attacks by the world’s deadliest terror group, Boko Haram.  The 2015 Global Terrorism Index, published by the Institute for Economics & Peace, found Boko Haram to be responsible for 6,644 deaths in 2014, compared with 6,073 at the hands of ISIS. Peace and safety is returning to the former danger zones in country. Some weeks back, the Nigerian army announced and celebrated the reclaim of Sambisa forest, one of Boko Haram’s major strongholds. 

However, a trend of violence has increasingly taken over especially, the Nothern, Central, Southern and even Eastern Nigeria. Repeated violent attacks in these areas have been credited to normadic herdsmen. These attacks have mostly been based on religious and ethnic rivalry between the herdsmen and the host communities.

 residents of communities affected by the attacks of herds men protesting

residents of communities affected by the attacks of herds men protesting

With more and more citizens internally displaced within the country, Nigeria lacks credible details as regards the data of these people. Also there has been a growing need for citizens to check on friends and relatives in affected areas in times of attacks. Technology platforms like Facebook, using its Safety Check tool offers users an opportunity to connect with friends and loved ones during  disasters (natural or man-made). 

In June 2016, Facebook announced that it will no longer manually activate its crisis response tool. Instead, it will rely on its billions of users to help automatically launch Safety Check following frequency of post on a particular crisis. The facebook Safety Check tool sends a public message to Facebook users in areas of immediate danger, allowing people to notify friends and family that they are alive and well. It has been used for natural disasters like hurricanes, as well as mass shootings and terrorist attacks. The feature however was turned only once in Nigeria after a 2015 Yola Bomb blast.This was after global accusations of western bias since the feature was turned on for the Paris attack and not for the Beirut attack, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of facebook explained why . However, following the event, Mark stated via his personal that he would not be posting all attacks mostly due to global frequency in occurrence of these attacks. 

 Source: www.wired.co.uk/

Source: www.wired.co.uk/

This highlighted a local challenge that no known Nigerian Tech company ever took up to confront. With continued attacks by Boko Haram and the increased attacks by nomadic herdsmen, Nigeria is indeed in need of a local solution to collecting data on safety during and after attacks, perhaps a partnership with major and popular social network as third parties in the delivery of this service.

Nigeria is fast growing into Africa’s tech giant and solutions like these are not only pertinent but and long overdue. Hopefully, 2017 will have tech solutions in security and safety for citizens from local Tech Startups.