‘How Civil De­fence tack­les pipe­line van­dals’

Com­man­dant Gen­eral of the Nige­ria Se­cu­rity and Civil De­fence Corps [NSCDC] AB­DUL­LAHI GANA MUHAM­MADU speaks on his agency’s tough fight against pipe­line and other crit­i­cal as­sets’ van­dals across the coun­try. Ex­cerpts:

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How se­ri­ous is the is­sue of pipe­line van­dal­ism and what are the ef­forts and strate­gies put in place to tackle it?

Pro­tec­tion of crit­i­cal as­sets, in­clud­ing pipe­lines, is one of our core man­dates. From 2016 to date pipe­line van­dal­ism has been cut down to 30 per­cent. We made a lot of ar­rests es­pe­cially in the South-South. In Akwa Ibom this year alone we made 62 pros­e­cu­tions. We have ar­rested so many trucks, some have been for­feited and some are still in court and in La­gos our men are now in charge of the Mosimi, At­las Cove to Ibadan. We made sure that we curb pipe­line van­dal­ism.

Al­le­ga­tions abound that the corps con­cen­trates its ac­tiv­i­ties of pipe­line pro­tec­tion at the Niger Delta re­gion, thereby aban­don­ing the hin­ter­land. Is that cor­rect?

If you have been watch­ing our pro­gramme, De­fend­ers, that come up ev­ery week, you will see that we are all over the coun­try. Wher­ever you go to, you have civil de­fend­ers and it is the same man­date.

Has col­lab­o­rat­ing with other agen­cies in car­ry­ing out your man­date of curb­ing pipe­line van­dal­ism been a plus or a mi­nus?

Well, it’s a plus and a mi­nus. We re­al­ize that some­times through the syn­ergy some of our sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion gets leaked, es­pe­cially when we want to go out for op­er­a­tion. But even with that I think it is more of a plus than a mi­nus.

There is syn­ergy with other se­cu­rity agen­cies, we work to­gether to make sure that we pro­tect crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture and na­tional as­sets of the coun­try. They are crit­i­cal be­cause if tam­pered with they af­fect the day-to-day run­ning of the gov­ern­ment. So we need to col­lab­o­rate more to make sure that we pro­tect these as­sets for our fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

What are the ma­jor chal­lenges in li­cens­ing and reg­u­lat­ing Pri­vate Guard Com­pa­nies, PGCs?

The ma­jor chal­lenges is that we need to get the PGC (Pri­vate Guard Com­pany) in­dus­try to the next level. Like I said when I took over, I want to leave be­hind a spe­cial­ized PGC in­dus­try that will meet the stan­dard of ev­ery PGC in the world, a com­put­er­ized PGC where the op­er­a­tors would be mon­i­tor­ing the op­er­a­tives in the field from their of­fices. Where at the end of the day we have char­tered in­ves­ti­ga­tors, so that when you have a case, not like now where you over­rely on one agency and within a short time the case is phased out. A place where we have an in­ves­ti­ga­tor that will pur­sue a case for more than 10-20 years. We are work­ing to­wards this and we will get there.

What in­tra agency dis­ci­pline and in­ter agency es­pirit de corps mea­sures did you take to re­duce NSCDC per­son­nel clash­ing with other se­cu­rity agen­cies?

Train­ing and re­train­ing. We also made our of­fi­cers re­alise that we are a grass­root or­ga­ni­za­tion. We are closer to the peo­ple. And we have to work with other agen­cies to achieve the same goals. The goals all cen­tre around pro­tec­tion of lives and prop­erty. If you talk of se­cu­rity, gen­er­ally it cen­tres around all of these. We re­al­ized that we are work­ing to­wards the same goal. Is it the Civil De­fence, is it the army? So why should we fight?

CG, Ab­dul­lahi Gana Muham­madu

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