By Yochuku Ofoka Yobolisa, Editor in Chief
In consonance with its official command, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps have been reminded of the imperativeness of coming up with new measures to stem the rising cases of abduction of schoolchildren and the escalating of domestic terrorism in the country. Nigeria’s interior minister, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on whose shoulders internal security squally rests ordered his new officer in charge of the corps to immediately introduce another plan of action that would provide adequate protection of students within their academic environments everywhere in the country. The minister said the new scheme must be similar to the corps’ celebrated Agro Ranger programme which has, to a large extent, protected Nigerian farmers and their investments on the farms.
Decorating Ahmed Abubakar Audi, the new commandant general of the corps, at the ministry headquarters in Abuja on Monday, the minister expressed sadness over the escalation of violent crimes and kidnapping within the school environments, describing schoolchildren as an innocent and vulnerable set of people who must be handled well in their formative years because they respond to external stimuli quickly and are easily persuaded by their own wiles like babies.
“Children are a specially protected social category. They are innocent and at the same time vulnerable. They are as vulnerable to external circumstances as to their own wiles.”
But the minister was not unaware of the enormity of his order to the new officer in charge of the civil defence agency. Going by the increasing crime and criminality in the country, it was clear to him that the corps would need the cooperation of other security agencies. Hence, he did not waste time to instruct the new NSCDC boss to ensure a perfect working relationship with other agencies to restore peace and order quickly not only in schools in the north but also in all facilities and critical infrastructure of government.
However, the minister who is not unmindful of the pitfalls and difficulties associated with the civil defence assignment at this time in the nation’s history urged the new commandant-general to regard his appointment as a means to prove his mettle in the ongoing war of attrition and organized crimes.
“This is your moment to be a hero.” He charged, adding that the fight ahead of the new NSCDC helmsman would definitely be rough and arduous. To this end, he said, “It is great challenges that produce heroes and men of history.”
Well, it is traditional for a father to send an obedient son on an errand no matter how difficult the errand may seem. What is important is that the father would always equip the child for success in the discharge of the assigned task. He would also always be there to await the son’s return. To this end, what is the political will necessary for the new CG to succeed in the monstrous fight against the forces of evil?
The words of the permanent secretary, Dr Shuaib Belgore, were reassuring. Dr Belgore, a career civil servant who is well in tune with the goings-on in and around the ministry assured that the ministry of interior will go to great lengths to support the new CG, to ensure that he delivers on this task of defeating the kidnappers and all agents of evil, and provide adequate internal security in his time.
Of course, we all know that the civil defence corps is not a newcomer to crisis management in the country. In its nascent years in the heat of the civil strife in this country, the civil defence organization worked hard to shield defenceless people from bombs and bullets from the feuding armies. In the last several years since 1999, the organization had come up with schemes that not only checked the nefarious activities of bandits and criminal elements, they have also ensured the protection of critical national assets such as pipelines, electric poles and cables, flow stations, telecom masts and cables and other federal and state governments’ installations.
The new commandant-general gave assurances that under his watch the corps will strive hard to improve the security situation of the country by leveraging on proactive intelligence gathering in its operations with a view to bringing to an end the ongoing war against the forces of evil.