By Ngozi Uwujare
The Commandant-General, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Mr. Abdullahi Gana Mohammadu, has said the corps needs to increase its personnel by 10,000.
He told Abuja Metro in Abuja that the corps approved the deployment of additional 2,000 personnel to beef up security to the earlier 5,000 deployed. He said more deployment would be made in communities ravaged by insurgents and herdsmen. He identified such areas as Agatu in Benue State and Nimbo in Enugu State:
“The corps will deploy drones and mobile surveillance vehicles in strategic locations to monitor activities of suspects and saboteurs causing mayhem in the society.
“The corps is ready to join other security agencies to tackle terrorism, vandalism, illegal bunkering, illegal refinery and oil theft. The corps arrested over 7,000 suspected vandals and they were charged to Federal High Court. Some were convicted and currently in prison.
“We will deploy personnel massively in areas billed to have elections to checkmate act of thuggery, ballot hijacking, hooliganism, harassment and intimidation at polling boots.”
Mohammadu added that the corps arrested a 56-year-old Boko Haram kingpin in Askiuba Local Government area of Borno State: “The corps arrested six additional Boko Haram suspects in Abuja. The notorious kingpin was said to be a recruiter as well as supplier of arms and IEDs to Boko Haram terrorists.”
Meanwhile, over 40 suspected vandals were prosecuted and convicted in Delta and Bayelsa states for oil theft and operation of illegal refineries. The corps commandant maintained that the number of suspects prosecuted and vessels handed over to the corps by the Naval team after the arrest, showed synergy and partnership in fighting crime and criminality in the affected areas. He urged other stakeholders to emulate the Navy, which acknowledged the corps as the agency in the protection of critical infrastructure.
He explained that the corps secured an interim order from court to sell the vessel named MV Flora and the 10,000 litres of illegally refined petroleum products store inside the vessel in line with Section 263 (II) of the Criminal Procedure Act.
He reiterated the commitment of the corps in applying new information technologies in the monitoring and protection of mining sites and petroleum pipelines against illegal operators and vandals.
Mohammadu said the corps “is in the process of deploying modern mechanisms which is ICT driven to help inject professionalism into the operation of civil defence to conform with international best practice. The upgrading of the Civil Defence Academy, Abuja, is to make a modern ICT based institution, involved in training and retraining of personnel on modern technologies.
In areas of effective disaster response, timely dissemination of information and early warning about potential hazards, he disclosed that “there are established programmes to develop and deploy information and communication technologies (ICT) geographic information system and remote sensing and satellite data for effective monitoring.
“The corps is a critical stakeholder in disaster management, and there is the need to bring other stakeholders together to plan and strategise toward disaster reduction and provision of primary health care to victims.”
He urged the corps personnel to continue to give their best by embracing modern technologies in the execution of the corps’ mandate especially in the protection of critical infrastructure:
“The importance of scientific and technological solution to complex problem presented by disasters cannot be over emphasized. New technologies must be implemented in such a way as to benefit the largest possible segments of the civilians, children, the disabled and the elderly. Without modern science and technology there can be no world, safe from natural and man-made disaster.”