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What manner of symbolic relationship exists between the police and NSCDC?

15 October 2014, 11:56 John E. Gabriel

On 22 August, 2014, I read with great dismay of how the Police Inspector, alongside other colleagues wanted to assassinate the Commandant General, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Dr. Ade Abolurin who led a federal government delegation on assessment tour of disposable forfeited items.

According to report, Dr. Ade Abolurin was in company of other members of a special committee drawn from the Nigerian Army, Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), the office of the Attorney General of the Federation among others, was threatened by the police inspector who was allegedly “acting on the orders of the Inspector General of Police”.

It was also learnt that the confrontation was orchestrated by the men of the police force, “following the arrest of some suspected vandals and oil thieves in possession of petroleum products in several jerry cans, including two big Cotonou boats by the men of the NSCDC. Angered by police team who arrived at the site with an unmarked danfo bus, carrying AK47 rifles, they were alleged to have challenged CG Ade Abolurin insisting that they were in charge and therefore, CG Ade and his men had no right to visit the area.”

But, in swift reaction to the allegation, the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Emmanuel Ojukwu issued a statement, first, that the “ police was investigating  the alleged assassination attempt and that the culprit, if found guilty would be brought to book.” Few days later, it issued another paltry statement that the issue was being investigated and that “there was no rift between the Nigerian Police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). Adding, the police and NSCDC were members of the same family working for one purpose.”

On several occasions, there had been reported cases leading to serious confrontation and sometimes, human lives were involved, not only between the NSCDC and the police, but between the police and the Nigerian Army, or between the police and the Navy, Customs, Air Force and other security organizations.

Also Read: NSCDC calls for collaboration among security agencies

For example, in March 27, 2013, it was reported that disagreement arose between the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence officers and the police officer when the NSCDC officers were returning from a successful operation that led to the arrest of suspected pipeline vandals in the Ikorodu axis of Lagos. It was also learnt that the fracas led to the death of one Inspector Adaji Gabriel and Innocent Akegbe of NSCDC.

Immediately, President Goodluck Jonathan who was touched by the development and unexpected display of misconduct summoned the leadership of both paramilitaries Dr. Ade and the then IGP Abubakar where discussions and reconciliations were made secret. Barely a year later, another fracas ensued, this time; it was aimed at eliminating the high profile chief, Commandant General, NSCDC, Dr. Ade.     

Even at the local governments level, there have been several confrontations between the police and NSCDC officers over who have the right to arrest, detain and prosecute the offenders. The police have not realized that officers and men of NSCDC were empowered by Act 2007 to carry out the above functions. In fact, officers and men of NSCDC were empowered to arrest pipe line vandals and to prosecute such offenders.  Besides, they were empowered to inspect Power Holding Company installations against vandalisation besides their primary duty of protecting lives and property. Besides the NSCDC, the police was reported to have displayed an act of misconduct against other paramilitaries, even the military. There had been reported prolonged battle between the Nigeria Police and the Federal Road Safety Corps over who had the right to issue vehicle number plates and who has the legitimate power to keep the data base of vehicles in the country.

The issue is not between the Commandant General of NSCDC, Dr. Ade Abolurin and acting Inspector General of Police, Mr. Abah, as both men have displayed a high sense of professionalism, maturity, leadership quality and especially, Dr. Ade has proved to the world that he is a leader with extra ordinary quality, a man of humility, sincerity and above all a workaholic man who mentored officers and men of NSCDC and brought the corps to the level it is today. That explained why he was chosen to lead a team of officers drawn from military, customs and other sectors.

In the past, high profile intellectuals who should live to groom the younger generations are being snatched away by cold blood orchestrated by cruel rank and file of police officers for an offence they knew nothing about, or rather, got killed by semi- illiterate individuals over an exchange of paltry sums of money.  Yet government kept mute.

 It is an open secret that officers and men of NSCDC at both local and state government were adequately trained, learned and corrupt free officers   who work tirelessly at ensuring that they get rid of pipe line vandals, and other criminal activities in the society. They have shown a high sense of maturity in their dealings. That explains why even at a slight confrontation between them and the police, they exercise patience and ensure a due process.

The Nigerian police have come all that far, and should be ready to take corrections at any given time. Maturity is not in age, or which organization was established first, but it’s all about gift from God, determination to succeed in life through fervent prayers and sincerity of heart towards issues at stake.

Both officers need to be educated on how to relate with each other, work together to achieve a common goal. There is need for the police to emulate the cordial relationship that has been existed between the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air force and other paramilitaries including the NSCDC.

Also Read: Independence Anniversary: NSCDC boss assures of adequate security

This is because the military believed they are both from the same parents working for the same purpose and to ensure peaceful co-existence among the entire organizations.  At one time or the other, the Nigerian Army relates with officers and men of NSCDC to the extent that you begin to imagine the enormity of love that exist between them. That is how it should be.

 How would one describe a paramilitary whose personnel kills at a little confrontation? Or tries to waste the life of a high profile officer who has been having sleepless night to ensure that he puts smiles on the faces of Nigerians irrespective of religious, language, tribe or sex, or in his own wisdom, try to bring a paramilitary outfit to limelight of government by allay fears of the people, and ensures they can go to bed with their two eyes closed. There is no cordial relationship resemblance to that of brother and sister rather, hatred, disobedient and conspiracy. 

Over the years, in view of the display of professional misconduct by men and officers of the police force, one begins to wonder, what kind of symbolic relationship exists between the Nigerian police and army, navy, FRSC, NIS, NPS and other paramilitaries in the country?

There is need for government to take urgent steps to arrest the ugly behaviour. This could only be done by trying the culprit and if possible, melt out an appropriate punishment (if found guilty) to serve as deterrent to others. Besides, the police authority who investigated and considered the fracas as “members of the same family, working for the same goal” should openly apologize to NSCDC boss, Dr. Ade who will see it as issues between brother and sister that can easily be forgotten and forgiven.

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