Your merger idea for NSCDC, FRSC counterproductive, ill-advised – CSO tells IGP

A civil society organisation, Save Nigeria Movement (SNM) has described the call by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Kayode Egbetokun, for the merger of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) as counterproductive and ill-advised.

Recall that the IGP made the call at a National Dialogue for strengthening security and the role of the NPF, organised by the House of Representatives in Abuja with the theme ‘Pathways to Peace: Reimagining Policing in Nigeria’.

Represented by the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Ben Okoro, the IGP said the NSCDC and the FRSC were duplications of the police force.

In a statement signed by Rev. Solomon Semaka, the Convener, of SNM, and made available to journalists in Abuja, the group berated the IGP for contemplating such an absurd thing when the Nigerian Police Force is in dire need of reforms.

According to the release, “we are duty bound to express our strong disapproval and outright rejection of the ill-motivated and ill-timed call for the merger of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC). While it’ll be inimical to national security to merge those agencies, we are particularly alarmed by the very thought of merging the NSCDC with the Police and view this suggestion as an attempt to undermine the extraordinary work the NSCDC is doing.

“It is also strange that an already overwhelmed Nigerian Police Force (NPF) would be looking for more duties when it’s obvious she’s shirking her original responsibilities. Instead of focusing on reforming the rot in the NPF, the IGP chose rather to play to the gallery in a deliberate attempt to malign the NSCDC.”

While vehemently opposing the unpopular views of the IGP, the rights group praised famous Nigerian leaders including President Goodluck Jonathan who affirming their support for the NSCDC and calling for efforts to strengthened it in line with the Oronsanye report towards better and efficient service delivery.

“It is rather disheartening that despite the clear position of our the famous Orosanye Report which called for the strengthening of the NSCDC to enable it perform it’s mandate creditably, the IGP regrettably holds a contrary view. Is the IGP questioning the authority of the Oronsanye report that recommended for the strengthening of the NSCDC? Is he just playing on the intelligence of Nigerians who overwhelmingly welcomed the report and are looking forward to it’s full implementation?”, the statement queried.

The CSO enumerated various achievements of the NSCDC which have greatly enhanced the security and economic well being of the country and wondered what could be the IGP’s motive aside inter-agency rivalry.

“The NSCDC has been over performing in recent times. Only few weeks ago, the NSCDC destroyed over 10 illegal refineries in the country. This is clearly in line with the Mr. President’s economic recovery plan and the need to meet Nigeria’s OPEC quota as well as the desire for Mr President to push up oil production to two million barrels per day.

“Again, the NSCDC has responded to the incidences illegal mining by introducing the Mines Marshals to curb illegal mining and boost revenues. This is unprecedented and worthy of commendations. Even with these high impact achievements, does the IGP prefer a merger to strengthening the Corps to continue to expand on its mandate of restoring Nigeria’s economic glory by thwarting saboteurs?

“Nigerians and indeed the entire Civil Society community is unanimous in acknowledging the enormous contributions of the NSCDC in all aspects of national life. They have distinguished themselves in the area of counterterrorism, prevention of vandalism, combating crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region, providing and sharing intelligence towards resolving complex cases of kidnapping and ransom taking by breaching the logistics chain of kidnappers and bandits in country.. It is therefore unacceptable to us that such a suggestion is even contemplated at all.

“The Safe Schools Initiative of the NSCDC has clearly brought us results in the safety of our school children as they’ve made schools safe and secured across the country. The Nigerian Police Force does not have the capacity to safeguard our schools and other critical national assets especially our oil assets in the Niger/Delta region.

“By seeking a merger, the IGP is simply seeking to expand the mandate of the NPF and possibly does not care about the security of lives and property beyond the hypocrisy of ‘the Police is on top of the situation’ that has never taken us anywhere.

“With the introduction of the Commandant General’s Special Intelligence Squad (DG’s SIS), high-tech surveillance of critical national assets and the Mines Marshals, the NSCDC has pioneered modern techniques in surveillance and has collaborated and clearly complimented other security agencies in intelligence gathering and sharing to enhance national security. Asking for the merger of an agency with sterling track record is an unpopular thing that should not be entertained. It is our informed opinion that this merger proposal can’t help the country and should be discarded entirely and completely”, the statement added.

The CSO ended the release by canvassing support for he NSCDC including increased funding and a pledge to always support the initiatives and programmes of the Corps by mobilising other civil society organisations to oppose any and all clandestine efforts aimed at undermining the NSCDC.

“We make bold to state that this clandestine move to usurp the mandate and modest vision of the NSCDC can not stand especially at a time like this when the nation is looking up to the NSCDC to scale up its interventions that have seen a sharp reduction in vandalism, crude oil theft and school abductions amongst other laudable achievements. The NSCDC has clearly established itself as a credible security outfit in a class of it’s own with well spelt out duties and responsibilities.

“The NSCDC has come to stay and if any organisation feels challenged by their professional prowess, they should step up their game and perform better rather than becoming a stumbling block.

“It is imperative that the the NSCDC must remain an independent security entity. In fact, without the NSCDC, the Nigerian Police Force will clearly be overwhelmed as it is clearly not equipped to engage productively with civilians and gather intelligence like the NSCDC. The Nigerian Police Force should therefore seek to learn from the NSCDC towards improving their engagement with civilians and rather than seeking a merger which will not benefit the country.

“Our collective resolve is rather to call for the strengthening of the NSCDC by the federal government to carry out its mandate effectively and compliment the other security agencies in enhancing national security. More logistic facilities including the establishment and equipping of more Command and training Centers across all the Local governments that make up the country will go a long way in solidifying their presence and creating the necessary impact. This is more patriotic and productive than a merger,” the statement said.