Since its formal recognition by an Act of Parliament in 2003, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has over the years joined forces with other security agencies to combat crime and criminality in the country.
From its amended Act of 2007, the NSCDC is saddled with the responsibility to protect critical national assets and infrastructure of government; register, train, license and monitor the activities of private guard companies in Nigeria.
It will also efficiently carry out disaster management through search, rescue, rehabilitation as well as mitigation, among other functions. Following closely the happenings and activities of the NSCDC, it is evident it has strived to live up to its expectations.
Many close observers of the corps are of the opinion that the NSCDC became more aggressive in achieving its mandate since 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Abdullahi Gana Mohammed as its second substantive commandant in July 2015. This, indeed, is not surprising to many because, findings indicate that Gana Mohammed was a pioneer member of the management team of the NSCDC.
During the early years of the NSCDC, he brought his wealth of experience from the banking sector to bear on the administration of the corps. He rose to become the most senior assistant commandant-general of the corps before fortune smiled on him and he was appointed the commandant-general after the official retirement of the former C-G.
Gana Mohamed has over the past years proved himself as a detribalised Nigerian, selfless, humble and an epitome of integrity in public life. To prove his high level of integrity, Gana Mohammed recently directed officers in charge of the recruitment process into the NSCDC to be transparent.
He warned that any officer found wanting or cutting corners in the recruitment process would be sanctioned appropriately, insisting that only the qualified should be recruited not minding their social, tribal, religious and regional background.
Since his appointment, Gana Mohammed ensured that the NSCDC became more aggressive and proactive in an effort at ensuring that criminals and terrorists were put on constant check.
For example, in April this year, operatives of the NSCDC in Borno state confirmed the arrest of a 24-year-old Aliyu Muhammed, to be Boko Haram’s Improvised Explosive Device logistics supplier in Maiduguri.
The suspect was said to have been nabbed by men of the command following intelligence report while he was on his way to supply bomb materials for Boko Haram terrorists.
On the other hand, in late 2018, the Rivers state command of the NSCDC paraded many suspects, three of them were arrested carrying illegally refined petrol in polythene bags in Ogbakiri, in the Emohua local government area of Rivers state.
While parading the suspects, the state commandant of the NSCDC said: “On September 29, 2018, we arrested 14 suspects with nine trucks loaded with suspected petrol and crude oil. The suspects were arrested on Hurly King waterfront, Yesu waterfront and in the Sandfill area of Eleme.
“On October 11, 2018, one suspect was arrested with a Toyota Camry loaded with several sacks of petrol along Ubima in the Ikwerre LGA.
“Also, on October 14, 2018, one suspect with two barges loaded with suspected adulterated petrol, was arrested by the anti-vandal team of the NSCDC along Bile in the Degema LGA.
“The following day, two suspects were arrested with a Dangote truck along Egbema Road in Degema.
“Four persons were also arrested around ATC waterside, in the Okrika LGA, on October 16, 2018, with illegally refined diesel and 9.9 HP engine boat.”
It is clear that the NSCDC under the watch of the current Commandant, Gana Mohammed, has helped greatly to reduce the loses the country could have incurred due to the activities of the criminals in different parts of the country.
Apart from the protection of lives and property of Nigerians, the NSCDC has also assisted greatly in redeeming the image of the country educationally.
The Corps has, since the past few years, partnered with the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board to ensure sanity in our educational system.
In April this year, a bulletin published by the JAMB revealed that NSCDC arrested over 100 suspects over examination malpractices in different parts of the country.
According to the bulletin, the candidates were picked by the NSCDC as part of efforts to sanitise the examination process.
Among those arrested by the NSCDC was a candidate who registered 64 times in a bid to take the examination for 64 candidates, since the examination ran for seven days and had an average of three shifts per day per centre.
As part of its contribution to curb armed robbery menace in all nooks and crannies of the country, the NSCDC has made its foot prints feasible in tracking and arresting armed robbers.
Just recently, NSCDC operatives in Lafia command arrested 10 suspected armed robbery suspects as well as two members of an alleged kidnap syndicate who were operating in the Keana, Obi and Awe local government areas axis of the state.
Parading the suspects in Lafia, the NSCDC State Commandant, Mr Mohammad Mahmoud-Fari, said they were arrested following credible intelligence received from members of the public.
With these contributions to national security, one can just imagine what would have become of Nigeria currently in terms of security without the presence and contributions of the NSCDC.
Many keen observers of the NSCDC under the leadership of Gana Mohammed have drawn the conclusion that the Corps has “done satisfactory work in the area like escort/public security of well-meaning Nigerian and foreigners, carrying out anti-vandalism, arresting and prosecuting of vandals, restoration of riot and conflict areas among others.”
Considering that there is no perfect system in the world, despite human tendencies, it is generally believed by many that the current commandant of the NSCDC has given the organization the best leadership that enabled it to give Nigerians the best.
It is therefore, important to call on all Nigerians, to give the NSCDC the needed support through the provision of information and intelligence to enable them perform better.
The Federal Government should, as a matter of national interest, consider increasing the funding for the NSCDC under the watch of Gana Mohammed to enable him to put in place his plans that have been hampered by funding challenges.
It is also important to call on the staff of the NSCDC to reciprocate the good leadership style employed by the current Commandant to put in their best in their daily activities.
The NSCDC family, cutting across all ranks, should therefore, resist every temptation to do anything that will drag the image of the organisation to public ridicule.
Baba Busu, a public affairs analyst, writes from Kaduna.