By Ademola Adegbamigbe, Kano
The long convoy was made up of over six Coaster buses, three hummer ones, Governor Umar Ganduje’s sleek, black Sport Utility Vehicles, security personnel cars, Road safety and Police motorbike outriders. They climbed bridges and many underpass types and snaked into the Police Headquarters in the popular area of Kano called Bompai. It was led by Governor Gabduje. Aremo Segun Osoba, one time Ogun State governor, newly elected executive members of the Nigerian Guild of Editors and delegate members were also there. They were in Kano for their 2021 biennial conference.
Among the neem trees (dogoyaro) on the premises, millions of which are present in the North because of their drought resistant nature and some noticeable majestic baobabs, the branches of which have been grotesquely twisted by the Sahel wind, is hidden something that made the jaws of the visiting editors to hang slack. The premises houses Kano State’s Security Complex or Advance Control Room, which is equipped with modern, state of the art and high-tech surveillance facilities to help combat crimes.
Among the projects visited by the editors, the Security Complex was the most talked about by them. This is because of the security situation in Nigeria. The Control Room, according to the Consultant handling the project, Engineer Aminu Miko, could take care of continuous surveillance of the state as wide as 230km radius, with all precision.
“Kano can connect to other neighbouring states, security wise, in an effort to secure the society. That synergy between different states, can, on its own curtail so many criminal activities,” he said, when the project was undergoing construction.
“While at the same time, other security agencies can hook up with the state-of-the-art control room for effective, efficient and result-oriented mechanism, the facility can at the same time tighten up many loose ends in the security situation ( because of lack of modern gadgets) of the state, in particular and the nation in general.”
He told the visitors that day that the Close Circuit Television cameras in the city can identify colour, number plates, brand of vehicles, the driver and passengers. He added that the cameras could send signals to patrol cars, the control room and with “its artificial intelligence, even identify faces, determine whether you are happy or sad.” In other words, they can identify and fish out criminals even if they hide in the crowded Sabongeri area, Gozo, Dokwa, Kura or climb the hill of Goron Dutse. It is the only promontory in the flatland that is Kano megalopolis.
It was time for demonstration. A Police Officer called different areas for situation reports: Dawakin Tofa, Kura, Base 33 in Dokwa and others to “confirm reading.” The officers on patrol reported “all correct sir.” As he did so, the areas were shown on the big screen in the room.
The facilities, according to Engineer Miko, “are still undergoing expansion” because, as he said, “we are laying fibre optic cables now.” He actually showed the visitors some, identifiable by the fresh laterite that cover where they are placed.
What the editors saw provoked discussions on the need for other states and even the Federal Government to take their cue from Kano. With huge investments on drones, CCTV cameras and other equipment, the entire country, including the sprawling Sambisa forest and Lake Chad basin area where insurgents hide, could be monitored from a single room.
Special Adviser, Media, and Communication to the Governor, Salihu Tanko Yakasai, last year, said that the security investment was one of the landmark steps taken by the state government. It is to secure the state and make it conducive for economic activities. Yakasai disclosed that the new security complex would link to several CCTV cameras which are in strategic locations. “The complex will link to radio equipment attached to Police Patrol Vehicles. It would help in the effective arrest of crimes on detection and tracking. In addition to this feature, the complex is also connected to drones.” The drones, according to him, would monitor Falgore Forest where banditry and kidnapping are rampant.
They inspected the Multi-Billion Naira Ultra-Modern Cancer Centre, Aminu Alhassan Dantata flyover along Murtala Muhammad Way, Tijjani Hashim flyover at Kofar Ruwa, Madobi Challawa flyover, Sheikh Qariballah Nasiru Kabara flyover at Shahuci, Ultra-Modern Three-layer Dangi flyover and Kwari market flyover, among others.
The Ultra-Modern Skills Acquisition Centre, which is ready for commissioning, houses modern equipment for 23 different trades for youth training and empowerment.
During the inspection tour, a recently completed Yahaya Gusau Road in the metropolis was commissioned by Chief Osoba
Other projects inspected include Muhammadu Buhari Specialist Hospital at Giginyu, Sheikh Khalifa Isyaka Rabi’u Paediatric Hospital along Zoo road and Ceremonial Court, renovated office complex of the Kano State Anti-Corruption Commission.
During the commissioning of Yahaya Gusau road by Chief Osoba, Governor Ganduje assured that “since government is a continuous process, we said it is pertinent for us to complete all abandoned projects we inherited. Because it was public fund that was used to start the project, therefore we will not abandon projects with the feeling that we did not initiate it. So I am happy that this road is hundred percent completed by my administration.”
Yahaya Gusau road links the main Bayero University Kano road to Sharada industrial area road.
Commissioning the road, Chief Osoba appreciated: “Your Excellency on behalf of my colleagues, all Editors, we want to praise you for being a Governor without any feeling of superiority complex. Those governors who are suffering from such complex, abandon what they did not start and they start afresh.”
“I call you a Restoration Governor. May God bless you Your Excellency. On behalf of the Governor of Kano state, my colleagues all the Editors and for the benefit of the entire people of Kano state and Nigeria, I am commissioning this major road, linking Bayero University, Kano, road and an industrial area road, Sharada road,” he commended.
Executive Chairman of the State Anti-Corruption Commission, Barrister Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado, assured the visitors that, his agency is not suffering from any state interference.
“Without any fear of mincing words, our dear guests, His Excellency the Governor does not interfere in all our activities and operations. It is on record that as a result of our operations there are some officials in this government that were indicted and were penalized without any hindrance from the Governor,” Rimingado said.
“It is also on record that when I came in as the Executive Chairman here, what I met was a dilapidated structure. But because of His Excellency’s commitment and patriotic posture for developing a zero-corruption state, he never said No to our requests put before him for smooth operations of the Agency.”
He further described governor Ganduje’s unrelenting support in the fight against corruption in the state as superb, adding that, “In Kano we have Anti-Corruption Institute, where our staff are being trained and not only our staff, but other people from other places can also be trained in our Institute.”
Members of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, last week, between Sunday, 31 May and 2 June, met in Kano for their Biennial convention with the theme: “The Media in COVID-19 Era: Challenges and Opportunities.’’ In the election held, new set of officers emerged and they will be in charge for two years.
It was hosted by Ganduje, while former Osoba, International Press Institute Executive (IPI) Board member, Oloriewe Raheem Adedoyin, Presidential Media Aide, Mallam Garba Shehu and Acting Provost, Nigerian Institute of Journalism( NIJ), Mr. Gbenga Adefaye were among the 250 delegates that attended the Kano event.
In the election, coordinated by Mr Bonnie Iwuoha, Mr Mustapha Isah was re-elected President. He defeated Ms Victoria Ibanga.
Mr Sam Egbala and Mr Bolaji Adebiyi were elected Vice Presidents for the West and East, in that order. Mr Ali M. Ali was returned unopposed as Deputy President. Malam Habibu Kila Vice President (North) and Mr Iyobosa Uwugiaren, the General Secretary were also elected unopposed.
Standing Committee members who emerged were Mr Ngwoke Ngwoke and Mrs Boma Nwuke (East) while Mr Umoru Ibrahim and Gbenga Adeshina were voted in to represent the North.
The treasurer is now Mr Steve Nwosu. He defeated Catherine Agbo and Juliet Njiowohor.
Mr Eze Anaba is the new Social/Publicity Secretary after he defeated Chooks Oko. Mr Austeen Elewodalu defeated Rose Moses to emerge as the Assistant General Secretary.
Gabriel Akinadewo, Managing Director of Freedom Online, Onuoha Ukeh and Wole Sogunle emerged Standing Committee Members for the West.