‘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:
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