The Effectiveness of Security Considerations in Public Buildings in Nigeria

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Public buildings in Nigeria today seems to have been the focus of terrorist attack. The design of public buildings does not answer the security consideration in design. The buildings under surge or target where public buildings in government parastatal, ministerial, and public enterprise buildings in various part of the country. Abuja being the capital city of Nigeria will be an area of consideration. This is because of the level of activities, high risk, because of high number and the quality of people. Public buildings are poorly maintained, structural deteriorate easily. These exposed to what kind of insecurity. Insecurity manifest through ICT, accessibility, location, construction and design and planning.

The primary purpose of buildings is to provide occupants with conducive, safe, comfortable, healthy and secured indoor environment to carry out different kinds of activities ranging from work, study, leisure business and family life to social interactions. In order to achieve this purpose, buildings are designed, planned, constructed and managed based on standards and specifications established by governments, professionals and experts who are supposed to have adequate knowledge of users' needs and expectations.

Attention is paid to what the buildings look like and not how they will be used in practice and their cultural fit. While appearance is important, houses must serve the everyday needs of the people for whom they are designed.

The security breach by the terrorist group at the Force Headquarters and the United Nations office in Abuja in 2011 had thrown up various security issues and brought about the blockade of some roads across the city. In the aftermath of the attack on Louis Edet House, the police had placed concrete barriers along the Shehu Shagari Way, sealing off a section of the road. Not long after, the military also sealed off the road that passed by the Defence Headquarters at Garki Area 8 and a section of the road by the Ministry of Defence. The State Security Service also cordoned off a section of the road leading to its headquarters at Maitama. Despite the blockades on most roads in the Central Business District, there are fears among residents about the effectiveness of the measure as a security strategy.

Building security and safety took on new meaning on September 11, 2001. Unprecedented terrorist actions that day at the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, made building owners and users think as they had never thought before about how secure and safe they are—or aren’t—in the buildings they use every day.

Today’s designs must prevent and detect threats from criminal and terrorist acts aimed at the structure and their occupants. Security Planning and Design examines these security threats—threats that are intentional and originate in human action.

Architects, engineers, security and technology consultants define the architect’s role in the relationship between security and building design.

Building security consideration is not just about installing the latest electronic gear and software package. Nor is it just a consideration for building types with highly specific occupancy considerations. Increasingly, buildings of all sorts are candidates for the kind of careful security planning that proceeds hand-in-hand with the architectural design process. To ensure an appropriate and cost-effective level of security, architects need to acquaint themselves with the range of security factors that affect design.


Building is as old as humanity whose product it is; and has evolved through centuries of activities, from dwelling in caves to skyscrapers and recently to intelligent structures that can smartly respond to stimuli in its environment. Mosaku et al (2006) observed that building practice has also undergone a great deal of metamorphosis in response to the dynamic nature of human needs and development. Essentially however, building design and construction are processes which traditionally involve several professionals collaborating for relatively short periods to develop a facility (Anumba 2006). The building process may also be grouped into three major phases: the conception/design phase, construction phase and operation or use phase The conception and design phase is when most of the decisions that influence the performance of the building are made; the construction phase represents the actualization stage when much of the capital cost is incurred; and the operation or use phase account for the greatest proportion of time period of the building life. Building practice entails the entire system that defines procedure and standards for all three phases of the building process; as well as spells out the responsibilities and interaction among the building industry professionals – town planners, architects, builders, engineers, quantity surveyors and estate managers. They are designed to provide environmental control, mobility, communications, facilities, fire protection and security in the intelligent building. Each of the building control systems plays a dominant role in the building as they act as the balance between the building’s contents, the organizations and the services that jointly determine if the value objectives of developers or end-users are accomplished.

A “public building” is a structure that’s owned by the public (i.e., the government).the Federal Building, state capitol buildings, courthouses, police stations, etc. Merely showing such structures in a film doesn’t require a permit, but actually shooting in such places typically involves permits, security, and quite a bit of hoop-jumping. In many instances, security considerations may lead the government to place serious restrictions on access to such facilities.

The complexities of selection decisions are further exacerbated by the high aggregation of the multi-criteria and multi-dimensional perspectives of building performance, including user friendliness, international standard protocols, business and commercial needs of end-users, ability of multiple systems integration, energy-saving properties, technological advancement, scalability, future proofing, and system flexibility (Wan and Woo, 2004). As a result, design teams need to strike a balance between these considerations and the goals and expectations of the

People paying for and/or intending to occupy the building.

With the recent upsurge in terror attacks comes the need to reconsider building design considerations to safe guard lives and property and minimize risk and probability of attack.

The ease at which security was beaten at the United Nations building in Abuja raises new questions as to the appropriateness of the entire complex in view of its status. Granted the building exhibited resilient structural integrity in withstanding impact, it ought to be more difficult to evade security.

The bombing at Lois Edet House -Nigeria’s Police Headquarters was also an indication that today’s design security considerations are clearly inadequate. The following anti-terror building design considerations are recommended for complexes that can be targets for terror attacks.

There is the need to secure buildings in Nigeria, for building to be secured it can be called An Intelligent building provides the owner, operator and occupant with an environment that is flexible, effective, and comfortable and secure through the use of integrated technological building systems, communications and controls. CABA(2002) defined it as “the use of integrated technological building systems, communications and controls to create a building and its infrastructure which provides the owner, operator and occupant with an environment which is flexible, effective, comfortable and secure”. An intelligent building provides timely, integrated system information for its owners so that they may make intelligent decisions regarding its operation and maintenance. It also has an implicit logic that effectively evolves with changing user requirements and technology, ensuring continued and improved intelligent operation, maintenance and optimization. It exhibits key attributes of environmental sustainability to benefit present and future generation.

Nigeria in recent times has witnessed an unprecedented level of insecurity. This has made national security threat to be a major issue for the government and has prompted huge allocation of the national budget to security. In order to ameliorate the incidence of crime, the federal government has embarked on criminalization of terrorism by passing the Anti-Terrorism Act in 2011, installation of Computer-based Closed Circuit Television cameras (CCTV) in some parts of the country, enhancement of surveillance as well as investigation of criminal related offences, heightening of physical security measures around the country aimed at deterring or disrupting potential attacks, strengthening of security agencies through the provision of security facilities and the development and broadcast of security tips in mass media (Azazi, 2011). Despite these efforts, the level of insecurity in the country is still high. Signifying a worsened state of insecurity in the country. With the lingering security challenges and the inability of the security apparatus of the government to guarantee safety and security in the country, the question that borders everyone in Nigeria today is that “can there be security?” Is security of lives and properties achievable? Apparently, the security situation in Nigeria appears or at least have remained insurmountable and many people have argued that government at all levels has not done enough by not confronting the situation head on and dealing with it decisively, others have argued that the situation has a political undertone or inclination calculated to serve the interest of certain political gods, who have been dissatisfied and disgruntled about the political manifestations in the country.

With the recent upsurge in terror attacks comes the need to reconsider building design considerations to safe guard lives and property and minimize risk and probability of attack.

The ease at which security was beaten at the United Nations building in Abuja raises new questions as to the appropriateness of the entire complex in view of its status. Granted the building exhibited resilient structural integrity in withstanding impact, it ought to be more difficult to evade security.

An Intelligent building integrates technology and process to create a building that is safer, more comfortable, highly productive and operationally efficient for the owners. It is anadvanced technologycombined with improved processes fordesign and constructionto provide a superior indoor environment, improve occupants ‘comfort and reduce energy consumption.


The problem of insecurity is now a major trend all over the global. Insecurity affects human life and existence, the concept of insecurity has usually been ascribed different interpretations in association with the various ways which it affects individuals. Security considerations remain its values for investment safety.

The frequency of collapse of building structures in Nigeria in the past few years had become very alarming and worrisome. Many lives and properties have been lost in the collapse of buildings mostly in, Abuja. Many property owners have developed high blood pressure and some have been sent to an early grave.

Beland (2005) defined insecurity as “the state of fear or anxiety stemming from a concrete or alleged lack of protection.” It refers to lack or inadequate freedom from danger. This definition reflects physical insecurity which is the most visible form of insecurity, and it feeds into many other forms of insecurity such as economic security and social security.

The bombing at Lois Edet House -Nigeria’s Police Headquarters was also an indication that today’s design security considerations are clearly inadequate. The following anti-terror building design considerations are recommended for complexes that can be targets for terror attacks.

According to (Human Rights Watch USA) A series of bombings and numerous targeted killings by the terrorist group in northern Nigeria had at this writing left more than 425 people dead in 2011, raising concern about the government’s use of heavy-handed tactics in responding to the problem. The terrorist group carried out dozens of attacks in the northern city of Maiduguri, gunning down police officers, politicians, traditional leaders, and opposing clerics. The terrorist also claimed responsibility for the November bombings in the town of Damaturu, Yobe State, which left at least 100 people dead, and a suicide bomb attack in August on the United Nations building in Abuja that killed 24 people and injured more than 100 others.


The primary aim of this research is to develop models for the selection evaluation of security considerations in public building. The specific objectives of this research is to perform the following

  • To identify and evaluate various security considerations in maintenance strategies adopted for public buildings;
  • To determine the effectiveness for security considerations in public buildings;
  • To assess the level of security challenge in public buildings;
  • To assess and evaluate the relevance of security consideration in public buildings in Abuja;


  • What are the considerations for adopting and maintenance strategies for public buildings?
  • How effective is the security consideration in public buildings?
  • What is the level of security challenges in public buildings?
  • What extend is the level of security challenges in public buildings?
  • What is the relevance of security considerations in public buildings in Abuja?


The scope of this research is focused on security considerations in the design of public buildings in Abuja.

The status of Abuja as the capital city of Nigeria means the city is going to keep building physical structures and expanding in scope and size. Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital city, is a fast developing one. Abuja has a sprawling and unprecedented population growth, far more than the official figures. This is largely due to ensuing urbanization in the city following the relocation of the federal capital from Lagos, and to the economic opportunities that the city seems to offer. This has put enormous pressure on the city’s infrastructure, particularly housing, as well as other services many government establishments, embassies, international agencies and several corporate conglomerates are headquartered in Abuja. The city has seen the development of major Constructions of structures and infrastructures to meet up with the demands of accommodation for office, residential and recreational spaces. The research is to focus on some major buildings, and will ineptly look into the security consideration of central bank of Nigeria and National house of assembly which are both strategic buildings in Abuja Nigeria These are essential elements of our economy and life, and are therefore attractive targets to terrorist groups. This research will focuses on the protective preparations of some public areas, and provides relevant information to professionals and others who are concerned with these issues. The research will evaluate the accessibility, external structure, materials and internal safety.


This research intends to address and fill in some of the gaps Intel approaches to security of lives and properties in developing a means of safeguarding occupants and buildings especially the causes of terrorist attack and show how to maintain effective security policies.

The idea of intelligent building is not new as such in the country. The central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) building in Abuja is an intelligent building where all data integrated with efficiency and comfort. The goal of having an intelligent building starts with early planning in the design stage.


The research methodology, which has been conducted both as deskwork and field work study, is a case study research and documentary research. The sampling technique was sequential involving both purposive and stratified random sampling

The research adopted the case study approach with a mixed method of data collection. The mixed method involved both qualitative and quantitative data sets. The quantitative data obtained from the questionnaire survey is analyzed using relevant descriptive and inferential statistical tools, while the qualitative data obtained from the preliminary investigation and observation. The research tends to follow the philosophical perspectives of research method these are the positivist, realistic, constructivist and naturalist perspectives. The positivist perspective also known as the scientific method is based on reliable and objective data, measurable experiments, tests, as well as statistical procedures. It derives its strength from the notion that better understanding of human experience can be gained through experiments and observations, positivist perspective to evaluation draws basically on the method-based theory and focuses on developing Methodological framework for verifying the internal validity (causality) and external validity (generalization) of programmes, evaluation research is focused on the generation of hypothesis, collection of quantitative data, and using the data to test hypothesis and also evolve theory as it is done in scientific experiments.

The main instruments of data collection were interviews, focus group discussions, questionnaires, reviews, observations. Relevant secondary data, and the positivist orientation for the research. Most importantly hypotheses are developed through the discussion of the conceptual model and constructivist approach.