NSCDC’s Giant Strides in Safeguarding Public Infrastructure, Curbing Terrorism in Nigeria

The Nigeria Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) was birthed in 2003 to serve as a paramilitary powerhouse in the fight against terrorism, safeguard public infrastructure and act as an emergency response institution for the Nigerian public. Rising through the ranks to become the NSCDC helmsman, the Commandant General, Ahmed Abubakar Audi’s mantra since his assumption of office in 2021 is to build a world class corps at par with international best practices, while deepening the impact of the corps in local communities through surveillance of critical public infrastructure across Nigeria. As shex-rays Audi’s third year in office, Esther Oluku writes that perhaps his most audacious achievement is the establishment of 

Commandant General’s Special Intelligence Squad (CG’s SIS), which has made and is still making remarkable impact on the war against illegal bunkering, kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery among others

When former President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Ahmed Abubakar Audi as Commandant General of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in 2021, his vision upon assumption of office was “to make the Corp a world class organisation aligning with world best practices”.

These include the actualisation of one of its core function as outlined in section (3)(e) of the NSCDC Act (amended) 2007 which states that the Corp shall “maintain twenty-four hour surveillance over infrastructures, sites and projects of the Federal, State and Local Governments.”

Sharing his philosophy during a tour of the NSCDC Training College, Nasarawa, last year, he maintained that securing public infrastructure would trickle into securing the life of Nigerians who use these assets.

He noted that combating the criminals who vandalise public infrastructure would require professionalism which is fueled by knowledge. This premise informed his drive to intensify training and retraining of officers.

Two other functions of the NSCDC as outlined in the Act section 3(h)(ii) are; to “syndicate activities which aims at defrauding the Federal, State and Local government”; and in section 3(k) to “provide and manage shelters for civilians during any periods of emergency.”

Giant Strides

The giant strides of CG Audi are numerous but are not limited to providing purposeful leadership in ensuring tangible and intangible assets addition to the NSCDC. 

He created the Civil Defence Academy in Jos, Plateau State as well as the NSCDC Arms Squad Training School at Ugede Development Area,  Nasarawa LGA of Nasarawa State; NSCDC Female Squad to aid in tackling kidnapping and other restiveness in schools nationwide; and NSCDC Special Mines Marshal for stopping the menace of illegal mining in the country’s mining sector. 

He introduced career progression for personal of the NSCDC; increased welfare packages of personnel; led to massive acquisition of arms for NSCDC operational use; purchased mini fire fighting tankers for disaster management in case of emergencies; procured Armoured Personnel Career [APC] vehicles;  and ensured staff welfare and motivational packages through massive promotion, conversion and upgrading, as well as provision of  staff welfare buses. 

He also constructed official and residential buildings within and outside the NSCDC Headquarters; procured  operational and office equipment; led to the destruction of 350 illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region; arrested and prosecuted vandals in several courts of competent jurisdiction within the country (the conviction rates are equally the highest in the history of the NSCDC); arrested and recovered critical assets and railway materials worth over 5 billion; and initiated the Save the School innovative program for the protection of vulnerable schools across the country.

Charting the Course with the Commandant General’s Special Intelligence Squad 

In the third year in office of Dr. Ahmed Audi, which also marks the middle of his five-year tenure, the NSCDC has recorded with enviable progress. This can be attributed to robust training of its personnel and a tightening on the noose on vandalism, terrorism and related crimes in the country.

As part of efforts to spearhead the movement, the CG created the Commandant General’s Special Intelligence Squad (CG’s SIS) which has made and is still making remarkable impact on the war against illegal bunkering, kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery among others. The Commandant General Special Intelligence Squad is headed by DCC Dandaura.S. Appollos (JP), who has recorded tremendous successes in tackling crime nationwide. 

One of the responsibilities of the NSCDC has been to tackle pipeline vandalism and illegal bunkering. Charged to coordinate this is the CG Special intelligence Squad and they have recorded results nationwide. 

Recently, those deployed to Rivers uncovered a massive illegal oil bunkering site at Odagwa Community, Etche Local Government Area of the State in March. The oil well head, belonging to Heirs Energies and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), located around Imo River 2 Oil and Gas field at Odagwa in Etche was tapped by vandals at multiple points.

The State Command Spokesperson, Superintendent Olufemi Ayodele, hinted that the successful discovery of over 10 illegal Refineries with an estimated 500,000 litres of Crude oil contained in about 50 illegally constructed Reservoirs was based on credible intelligence. 

Re-echoing the resolve of the CG, Ayodele said: “The Commandant General of the NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi, has reiterated over time that all acts of economic sabotage would be fought to stand still as suspects arrested would face the full wrath of the law irrespective of their sponsors.

“While conducting an operational tour across the large thick forest about 10 different cooking pots of 50,000 litres capacity were seen with one big Pumping machine, Receiver Tanks, 25 rubber hoses used for pumping crude oil and many long galvanised pipes with unqualified litres of crude oil and illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil stored in 6 very large reservoirs and other 20 smaller reservoirs dug in the ground. 

“The names of the suspects who were handed over to the Rivers State Command for further investigation are:

Favour Chukwu (M) 29 years, Desmond Umeh (M) 25 years, Godwin Amos (M) 22years, Bineace Galion (M) 38years and Goodnews David (M) 23 years. 

The Rivers State Commandant, Basil Igwebueze, condemned the act while thanking the CG for commissioning the Special Intelligence Squad across the states of the federation.

In his remark, he expressed that the uncovering of the illegal bunkering site underscores the vital role of the agency in protecting critical national assets.

He said: “The uncovering of this massive illegal oil bunkering site is a landmark achievement and an indication that the NSCDC, as the lead agency in the protection of all critical national assets and infrastructure, will continue to combat crude oil theft with renewed vigour even as we work in synergy with sisters security agencies to salvage the nation’s economy from saboteurs. 

“Thorough investigation has commenced to unravel those behind the scene while all suspects arrested in connection with this act of vandalism and crude oil theft would be charged to Court of competent jurisdiction and their sponsors or cartels would be trailed and brought to book without compromise.”

On August 4, 2023, the Commandant General’s SIS led by DC Dandaura Appollos, arrested suspected rail line vandals disguised as scavengers who had vandalised rail track iron, concealed them inside scrap iron materials loaded in trucks and conveying them for sales to their vendors. 

The vehicle used for concealment, a DAF trailer truck with registration number BSA 899 XA, and four [4] suspects were intercepted along Lafia- Akwanga-Abuja express way, Sabon-pagi , Shabu, Lafia, Nasarawa State.

The arrested vehicle was moved to the exhibit yard at NSCDC Nasarawa State Command, Lafia, and the scrap irons were offloaded. It was discovered that a large quantities of railway irons were under the loaded scrap, while the four suspects were taken into custody for further investigation.

Among the arrested suspects include: AAnasAli, 27yrs, Yusuf Idris, 25yrs, Hafis Idris,18yrs and Nasiru Abdullahi,28years. 

Appollos, while giving the brief hinted that the operational success was achieved through credible Intelligence that some suspects have vandalised a Multinational Company Well Head and connected galvanised metal pipes with large hoses thereby syphoning crude and processing it locally.

“Just as we value and protect our informants, the information received are always treated with caution and prompt alertness; as soon as we arrived the suspect took to their heels but we were able to arrest one Godspower Oyibo (M) 32 years from Delta State who is now assisting us with further investigation”.

“On the crime scene there were reservoirs cemented with trampoline and filled with approximately 100,000 litres of crude oil. While the following exhibits were sighted:

A Yellow Colour Robin EY 20 Pumping Machine, Galvanized metal pipes, long large hoses, Already Vandalized Well head, stolen crude worth 100,000 litres stored in reservoirs, calibrated surface tanks, processed AGO in cooking pots and metal buckets”.

“The Rivers State Commandant, Basil Igwebueze has been approximately intimated with the development; we assure the public that the Corps will not be fatigued in the relentless war against vandalism and crude oil theft across the nation even as suspects arrested would have their time in Court after diligent investigation”.

In the same period under review, the NSCDC arrested 13 suspects in connection with vandalism of long rails worth over N800 million. The suspects were paraded alongside five trucks conveying large quantities of vandalised rails and sleepers at the NSCDC headquarters in Abuja.

Parading the suspects arrested by the CG’s SIS, the NSCDC National Public Relations Officer fgg said that the arrests took place around Manchock area of Kaura LGA, Zonkwa area in Zango Kataf LGA, and Kaffanchan area in Jama’a LGA of Kaduna State.

While interviewing one of the truck drivers, he disclosed that he was offered N1.2million upon delivery of the stolen items to Ilorin. The suspect said that he was however given N200,000 advance payment from which he had giveb N100,000 to the agent who contacted him for the job.

Federal Railway Corporation, North Central District Manager, Mr Austin Ashibekong, said the arrests were made within his jurisdiction.

“I want to confirm to you that these are vandalised long railways that had been cut into pieces and everywhere in the North-Central district is experiencing surge in vandalism of track materials. They vandalise the long rails, the sleepers, android clips and other railway components which has been a major hurt in our management ,” he said.

According to Ashibekong, these materials run to hundreds of millions, bearing in mind that no railway material can be sourced locally.

“Even the nuts can not be sourced locally and all these costs the Federal Government a great deal and somebody will come overnight to vandalise them for selfish and personal interest.”

  On the September 2, 2023, at about 1720hrs and 1730hrs, the CG’s SIS stormed number 3, Dogon Dutse, Jos North LGA, and another house around Kasuwan Kara area, Bukuru, Jos South LGA, of Plateau state arresting Five suspects.

Sealing up a large warehouse containing  Bags of diverted raw materials for production of NPK, called Granular Amonium Sulpate [GAS].  

 The product, meant to be  allocated to the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) blending plant, for the production of fertilizer. Upon production, the fertilizers are to be sold at subsidised rates to farmers to sustain the National food Security program of the Federal government. This initiative is also aimed at encouraging local food production in the country.

These raw material, being diverted, are sold at the open market at the rate of 25,900 per bag, to farmers or anybody who patronize them.

 During the raid at No. 3 Dogon Dutse, the following suspects were arrested, namely: Ibrahim  Mohammed, aged 63, Ladan Anas aged 26, Umar Said Mohamed aged 37. 

On the other hand, at Kasuwan Kara, Bukuru, Jos South LGA, the following suspects were arrested, namely; Hambale Usman aged 46, Junaidu Ubale aged 30.

All the five suspects were moved to the  NSCDC NHQ Abuja for further investigation  while the exhibits were documented on bond and released to the warehouse.

Essentially, for CG Audi, through his SIS, he is bent on charting the course of the NSCDC to fight against terrorism, safeguard public infrastructure and act as an emergency response institution for the Nigerian public, while deepening the impact of the corps in local communities through surveillance of critical public infrastructure across Nigeria.

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