A civil society and pressure group, the Guild of Civil Societies and Media Executives for Equity, Justice and Transparency in Nigeria (GOCMEJ), a foremost anti-corruption, pro-democracy and good governance organisation with over 550 civil society groups, rights activists, bloggers and media executives, is encouraged and hereby applauds the re-branding and repositioning process presently being put in place by Dr. Abubakar Audi, the commandant-general of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
This is as part of its efforts to strengthen and safeguard critical national assets and reduce the menace of kidnapping in schools. This inventiveness, GOCEMJ, gathered is due to the various initiatives enacted and the professionalism being displayed by men and officers of the Corps.
In a press statement jointly signed by the organisation’s President and Country Representative, Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele, and the head of media and publicity, Comrade Gabriel Gwajime, GOCMEJ noted the various institutional reformations presently taking place across the Corps as well as the sense of belonging, prompt payment of emoluments and allowances including the zero tolerance for corruption initiated by the Audi-led management. This, without doubt, has given the Corps a pride of place in the paramilitary organisations in the country.
The arrest of students for acts unbecoming of them across institutions of learning in the country; arrest of same sex marriages which is a major milestone; the commendations given by governors of Zamfara, Gombe, Ogun, Jigawa and Katsina states recently are also worth mentioning; the reduction of the incessant herders’ and farmers’ clashes and cattle rustling; the deployment of undercover Corps officers to schools; the collaboration with the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) to reduce criminal activities across the country with the toga ‘See something, Say something; the robust relationships of inter-agency corporations and partnerships with sister agencies such as the Navy, Army, Customs, Immigration, NNPC, and civil society organisations is a major achievement that must be applauded; the consistent advocacies carried out by the CG to intimate and assure Nigerians to believe in the Corps’ operations to engender faith in security agencies, are all worthy of note.
The continued fight against cyber-crimes, child abuse and the flushing out of illegal guard private operators; the arrest of smugglers, vandals and pipeline/oil thieves in the Niger Delta region has become an herculean task that must be achieved, according to the CG, saying that the Service “is presently doing all it can to curb the proliferation of small arms across the length and breadth of the country. He also read the riot-act to the Corps’ commandants in the Niger Delta states, assuring them that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has a zero-tolerance to civil theft. He asked them to do all they can to nib crimes in the bud in line with a presidential order to rid the nation’s oil sector of economic saboteurs, vandals, criminals, oil thieves and other nefarious activities inimical to the growth of the sector.
According to the statement, the NSCDC recently graduated 280 personnel from the Command and Staff College in Jos, Plateau state. At the graduation, the CG reiterated that “it is expedient to inform you that this is the first in the series of capacity building programmes lined up to prepare the corps personnel physically, mentally and psychologically for the greater task ahead.” The commandant-general further explained that 280 were drawn from all the 36 states’ Commands including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), comprised 104 female officers and 176 male participants who were exposed to both academic and physical exercises during the course which included staff course, staff duty, Command course, administrative duty, intelligence and a leadership course respectively to enhance the capacity of its personnel and meet up with global practice internationally.
The Guild can attest to the fact that the giant strides achieved so far by the current leadership are as a result of the strategic directions taken on the commissioning of the standard curriculum for NSCDC for entrenching career progression, effective supervision and transparent regulation of the Private Guard Companies in Nigeria which has reduced insecurity across the country. The Guild asserts that it’s connected to a new reinvigorated legal department, successes in anti-vandalism, protection of farmers’ physical security at mining sites and the establishment of Special Female Squad (SFS) targeted at boosting the fight against insecurity and the location of the squad in all Commands across the country. This has also enhanced the safe school response coordination and the protection of schools in remote areas and border communities, which is done in collaboration with other security agencies of the Army and the Department of State Security to foil attempts to attack schools. This is endorsed by all stakeholders.
Similarly, the commandant-general has continuously urged security agencies/operatives to shun inter-agency rivalry to foster national security. The CG gave this charge at a recent security seminar tagged “Promoting inter-agency collaboration among security agencies.” He noted “that the rivalry was capable of eroding relationships building over time between security agencies and consequently rubbed off negatively on the provision of adequate security.”
The Guild also endorsed the amicable settlement of conflicts and dispute resolutions between herdsmen, farmers, cattle rustlers and villagers, community leaders and bandits – all championed by the current management of the NSCDC. The pressure group also applauded the vision, mission and the ability to implement its mandate as regards the settlement of disputes through Advisory Dispute Resolute (ADR) between warring parties.
GOCMEJ recognises the importance of conflict and dispute resolution mechanism in today’s contemporary issues and conflict management, and commended the leadership for thinking out of the box and finding lasting solutions in today’s crises-prone society, where conflicts have become the order of the day.
The Guild emphasised a renewed vigour for the increment of national budget allocated to the NSCDC in view of the pivotal role it plays in the reduction of criminal elements in the protection of critical national assets and the reduction of kidnapping in our schools as a result of the school initiative, which if properly funded will give the NSCDC the impetus to do more for the nation and its workforce.
We are encouraged to commend the public procurement and contract approvals, accountability in procurement process, payments and the high esprit-de-corps of the NSCDC officers and men, as the morale of the officers has never been this high. We also applaud the transformation, vision and forthrightness of the leadership in changing the narrative to make the Corps the cynosure of all eyes through discipline, promotion of officers when due and capacity building of officers and men, including building strategic alliances with various ivory towers across the land, to upgrade the service institutions to meet with what is attainable globally and build robust sister inter-agency collaborations.
GOCMEJ, therefore, has no hesitation in passing a vote of confidence on the Dr. Abubakar Audi-led management and calls on the international community and well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on blackmailers operating within supervising, institutions of the government to stay off the NSCDC management and allow them to concentrate on their mandate; communities should continuously support the proactive leadership to enable it further its commitment and efforts to the general well being of the nation.
GOCMEJ realises that the management has won several laurels and awards from across the academia, media, and government institutions just to mention a few. Presently, the commandant-general, we learnt, has deployed massively personnel across the country for the yuletide period and has given marching orders to states’ commanders to brace up and reduce criminal activities to the barest minimum during this period.