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NAFDAC chemical regulation results in decrease terrorists’ bombings

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The Director of Chemical Research and Evaluation at the National Drug Enforcement Agency, Dr. Leonard Omopariola on Wednesday said that the regulation and control of chemical availability in the country have contributed to a reduction in bombings by non-state actors, particularly in the North East.

He highlighted that the regulations, enforced by the National Counter-Terrorism Centre in collaboration with the National Drug Enforcement Agency and other entities, have made chemicals required for manufacturing improvised explosive devices and bombs scarce for terrorists.

The PUNCH reports that during Abubakar Shekau’s era, Boko Haram terrorists increased their use of IEDs, vehicle-borne IEDs, and female suicide attacks against a wide range of targets.

Shekau’s Boko Haram detonated its first VBIED in June 2011. On 26 August 2011, Boko Haram carried out its first attack against a Western interest using a vehicle-bomb attack on the UN headquarters in Abuja. The incident led to the killing of at least 23 people and injured more than 80.

Speaking at the Chemical Security Programme in Abuja, Omopariola stated that restricting access to urea and ensuring its local production have prevented terrorists from using it to make explosives.

He said, “If you notice here in this very country, from 2015 till present, there have not been massive cases of those bombings in the country, especially in the North East.

“I can stand here today because I work with them, and I want to sincerely thank all our law enforcement agencies for that. One of the major things that was done by the government, especially from the Office of National Security Adviser and the Centre for Counterterrorism, in collaboration with NAFDAC is to make sure that the regulation and control of these chemicals are kept away from the hands of people who want to use them for nefarious activities.

“We also ensure we do not allow easy access to urea, among others that I won’t want to name because they also could be used to make explosives.  The government has also supported the local manufacturing of urea. So all these are done to be able to ensure that there’s safety and security in the country”.

“The CSP is to keep the chemicals safe so that people who have nefarious activities, such as non-state actors, terrorists, and the rest of them, will not have access to those chemicals to manufacture bombs, among others”.

The Senior Director for Responsible Care, American Chemistry Council Washington, Dan Rozniak noted that there is also a need for countries and industries to practice responsible care.

He said, “We have programmes in Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, and Kenya. But there’s a large number of countries here where there are chemicals either manufactured or used. We feel that Responsible Care may be an appropriate programme to be adopted by the industry in African countries. Nigeria is one of those countries that we’ve identified as being, hopefully, a good location.

“Well, I think we’ve seen benefits around the world of taking on Responsible Care, having a programme that identifies specific requirements that companies need to follow”.

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