A score card on Nigeria security and Civil Defence Corps
By Comfort Yakubu
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps was first introduced in May 1967 during the Nigerian Civil War within the then Federal Capital Territory of Lagos for the purpose of sensitization and protection of the civil populace. It was then known as Lagos Civil Defence Committee.
On inception, the Corps had the objective of carrying out some educational and enlightenment campaigns in and around the Federal Capital of Lagos to sensitize members of the civil populace on enemy attacks and how to save themselves from danger.
In 1984, the Corps was transformed into a National security outfit and in 1988, there was a major re-structuring of the Corps that led to the establishment of Commands throughout the Federation, including Abuja, and the addition of special functions by the Federal Government
On 28 June 2003, an Act to give statutory backing to the NSCDC passed by the National Assembly was signed into law by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo,
The corps is statutorily empowered by lay Act No. 2 of 2003 and amended by Act 6 of 4 June 2007
Nigeria civil defence corps had remain unpopular, and many Nigerians never really appreciated the agency but many years down the line it has grown from an unpopular agency to a prestigious one many Nigerian youths wants to join.
This article shows perspectives of Nigerians and their ratings on the performance of the corps many years down the line.
Mr Paul Nkom is a resident of the FCT , according to him, the generality of Nigerians are yet to come to terms as to what the functions and duties of the Nigerian Civil Defence entails.
One of their functions are ensuring the safety of Public Utilities (Facilities) like; securing Refinery pipelines which transports petroleum products against vandals, securing power stations& electrical facilities from illegal vandalisms, ensuring safety in Public offices& buildings that are strategic to the nations policy implementation, securing lives in parts of the country that are vulnerable (like the rural areas) to repressive attacks (Fulani herdsmen massacres) to complement the duties of the Nigerian police& so on. He added that the Civil Defence should focus on deploying its personnel to rural areas where they are vulnerable& susceptible to internal attacks.
Look at cases of Benue state, parts of Nassarawa state, & now- Southern Kaduna of recent. Very pathetic! He says, The Government needs to widen the scope of the NSCDC to conform with the security architecture of the country alongside the right will, commitment& training to go beyond its scope of operations.
For Ajayi Oluwatosin Julius who also resides in FCT He simply said, the Nigeria Civil Defence are a government security establishment rendering full security with maximum transparency to the Nation ,they are more professional, respectful and more trustworthy uniform personnel.
Miss Marju Jilam on the other hand said she doesn’t think Nigeria Civil Defence performs well, let their presence be pronounced like that of the police post we have, I don’t really know their Jurisdiction she adds.
Buhari Salisu an engineer says generally the Nigeria Civil Defence are more civil and humane than the police force and seem to carry out their assignments with some level of decorum.
They seem to have a grasp of their job roles, specifications and functions Personally, I feel safer when I see them while driving on the roads than I do when I see other security personnel
For Timothy Elisha, their supporting role in helping to beef up security is commendable , they have been able to give a supporting hand to the police in addressing and tackling some civic concerns.
The commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Abdullahi Gana Mohammed in his reaction explained that those who say there is no difference between police and civil defence are ignorant and I expected them to seek more clarification
Civil Defence is an International Organization with its Headquarters in Geneva. Nigeria is the 66th member of the international organization of civil Defence.
It has 3 mandates; the disaster management. We take care of injured soldiers during the war front. We serve as reservoir in case of shortage of manpower.
Gradually it spread to all the states of the Federation still as the voluntary body, merely given ad-hoc assignment by the Government.
In 2003, a bill establishing civil defence was passed as a full-fledged paramilitary outfit, with specific mandate. It retained its disaster management mandate given two additional mandates:
Protection of critical and National Assets, this includes the oil pipeline, dams, water pipelines, communication mast, power lines, roads, bridges and today, agriculture has been identified as critical because of kidnapping and cattle rustling.
We now have a new units consisting of 5000 armed officers called Agro Rangers , they are to protect Agro Allied Industries, farms and farmers. Secondly, we also give security to cattle ranches to be established by the federal government.
He added that over the years the mandate of the corps is expanding,
‘’Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbeshola some months ago, directed the establishment of Anti rape unit and with the establishment of that unit, several arrest have been made and officers have also been sent out on Anti rape campaign.
‘’Today, we have about 56,000 personnel and to be frank, the mandate of the corps is expanding on daily basis, we have deployed 3500 men to the North East, another set of 2500 to provide security to schools in the North East. We have about 5000 men in Agro Rangers Unit to provide security for farm lands. We have solid mineral units to curb illegal mining with about 3000 men, so our mandate is increasing, there is a need for manpower.