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Lessons for Nigeria from the London Bridge terror attack

London is under siege this morning as the city tries to recover from last night’s terrorist attack in which a van was rammed at pedestrians on London Bridge and three men reportedly got off the van and stabbed several people.  Seven people are reported dead with about 50 injured.

The attack was in London but the threat of terrorism is global, as many Nigerians sadly know too well from Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen.

The UK, with some of the most advanced intelligence services and modern policing, has been unable to prevent three fatal terror incidents in the last three months.  While complete prevention is near impossible, the response to the attacks by the police and emergency services is critical to prevent further deaths in the aftermath of such incidents. This is where Nigeria continues to fail its citizens.

Last night in London, armed police reportedly responded within eight minutes of the first distress call and shot dead the three alleged perpetrators.  London mayor Sadiq Khan said this morning that the swift action of the police and emergency services ensured that fewer people died and the wounded got the medical help they needed.

In Nigeria, Fulani herdsmen have been known to carry out attacks all through the night with no police or soldiers in sight.  It is a similar story with Boko Haram violence.  On too many occasions, victims of attacks and other traumatic incidents are left to their own devices.

Nigerian police boss Ibrahim Idris

Nigerians deserve better.  The primary purpose of government and enshrined in the Nigerian constitution is the security and welfare of Nigerians.  It is time Nigerian governments learn the lessons of the London Bridge attack and place a very high premium on protecting the lives of Nigerians by ensuring the police are equipped to respond to distress calls in a matter of minutes.  Some tragic incidents can’t be avoided, but the response to them is critical to prevent further deaths.  The importance of a brave and responsive emergency responsive service can’t be over-emphasised.

At the moment, Nigerians rulers are more concerned with deploying police officers to protect themselves and not the people they are supposed to serve.

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