By Naomi Sharang
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSDC), said it arrested no fewer than 1,963 pipeline vandals across the country in 2019.
Commandant-General of the Corps Abdullahi Muhammad made this known when members of the Senate Committee on Interior led by the Chairman Sen. Kashim Shettima, paid a familiarity visit to the corps’ headquarters.
He said that the corps had effectively safeguarded the nation’s critical infrastructure and national assets such as oil pipelines, gas installations, telecommunications, mining sites through which about 1,963 suspected vandals were arrested in 2019.
Muhammad noted that the corps had also made so many arrests of illegal miners but decried that after the arrests, state governors intervened for their release.
“In Plateau, we arrested 12 Chinese, seized their passports, but when the pressure was too much on us, we had to release them.
He noted that part of the corps’ mandate included monitoring of private guards companies, adding, “we realised that the private security companies were dominated by Lebanese.
“To tackle this, we have inserted a clause in the registration of private security companies; these security companies are purely the business of Nigerians because it is our internal security so foreigners have no business in it.
“We sanitised the industry by having a retired military or para-military officer to guide others.”
He further said that the corps had set up new units including the agro rangers who were in charge of safeguarding farmers and farmlands across the country.
“These agro rangers were on special request from former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, for a 5,000- man squad to be in charge of agro allied investments, that is the farmers and farm lands.
“Ogbe had said that government was diversifying the economy and we needed to protect the farmers and farmlands.
“Government is also trying to establish about 250 cattle ranches. By establishment of these ranches, it will limit the movement of herders so that there will be fewer clashes between the farmers and the herders.
“On the issue of crisis in Nigeria, we collaborated with the United Nations (UN) to have 2,500 chartered peace negotiators.”
The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Shettima said that “we have to build Nigeria without being nepotistic.”
Shettima was reacting to the corps having certain institutes in some zones of the country while others had non.
“We are living in interesting times in this country and the role of NSCDC is important in restoring peace and sanity in the polity.
“I am proudly Nigerian; I believe in the Nigerian project. Your college of disaster management and peace studies is located in Katsina, in the North-West region.
“Your civil defence academy is situated here in Abuja (North Central) while your college of security studies is located in Abeokuta, Ogun, in the South-West.
“The staff college Kontagora, donated by the government of Niger is in the North-Central zone. So it is a little bit unnerving whereby another institute is to be located in Niger.
“What about the South-South and the North-East. Equity demands that there should be national spread of those institutions.
“We have to build a nation; and if we have to build a nation we cannot build a nation by being nepotistic. We have to make strategic sacrifices,” he said.(NAN)