I read Chief Dr. Uche Nworah’s social media post some days ago, titled ‘The Mindless Monday Sit-at-Home Oders In The South-East. Here I lift a portion of that public service piece that fertilizes my thought. Uche Nworah wrote that “It has become a criminal enterprise in the South-East run by different criminal organizations who dwell in camps in the forests from where they launch their attacks. If governments in the South-East are not deploying technology to fight crime as part of their plans, they have not started. It is with drones and other technologies that they can penetrate inside the ungoverned spaces where these criminals hide.”
Uche Nworah is damn correct! Technology to contain crime has advanced faster than crime, yet crime is boldly masquerading all over the South-East. May I itemize some relevant memories:
1. In the mid 90s, I participated in a working tour of the Earth Station of the European Space Agency in Esrange in Kiruna Northern Sweden. Every two hours, reels of imageries would be unrolled from photos taken from the satellites as they orbited the earth. The images were zoomed for us, the Nigerian team when the satellites came round Nigeria. The image resolution then was 10 metres. We could see road side bush burnings clearly. I heard that today, the resolution can pick a person’s face in the street recognizably, any where on earth, with an ultra-sound technology component that picks heartbeats if you are hidden deep in the forest.
2. At the twilight of Willie Obiano’s government in Anambra State, I heard that a team went to Boston Massachusetts on tour of security camera manufacturers. This was the Governor’s next steps in incorporating the camera technology in his then water-tight state security architecture. The architecture as conceived was a three or four-layer scheme beginning from local communities, let’s say Enugwu-Ukwu, where bespoke security cameras would be mounted; let’s say 10 re-locatable cameras that revolve 360 degrees picking sharp motion images day and night from as far as 5 football fields radius and sending the images to receiving stations manned and interpreted by the community vigilantes. The community data would be fed to the municipal network. And the municipal network would feed the State’s. The Anambra airport project, itself also a critical asset, probably contended with this scheme.
3. Criminals of any grade – pickpockets, armed robbers or kidnappers in the forests – operate because they regale in anonymity. States in the South-East individually and collectively should consider dusting up this 3-level community security camera coverage scheme as a matter of emergency and undertake a shared subscription to ESA satellite motion images. The satellite images can be downloaded real-time at the occurence of any flashpoint crime events. And this will precisely guide ground kinetic responses. Methinks that a combination of these schemes – aerial satellite and camera – will strip the forests, cities and towns of the environment of anonymity. When everyone in town, in the farm or in the forest knows that he is known and is seen, 90% of potential crime will instantly be dissuaded.
4. The response to crime as is currently being done is a bloody, unintelligent dissipation of energy. Crime is having a good run while counter-crime efforts are trudging behind, gasping for breath.