The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), is a Para-military agency of the Federal Government, commissioned to provide measures against threats and any form of attack or disaster against the nation and its citizenry. The agency is created by the NSCDC Act No. 2 of 2003 and amended by the Act of 4th June 2017.
SOLA JACOBS engages the Osun State Commandant of the NSCDC, Ayodele Olusola Philips, on some of the roles that the corps has played in ensuring security of lives and properties in the state.
OSDF: In the State of Osun, it has been acknowledged that there is relative peace and low crime rate, what in your view is the secret behind this?
Ayodele: These could be attributed to the collaborated efforts of the security agencies in Osun. When we are talking about security, it involves all stakeholders and if there is no unity amongst the security agencies, we won’t achieve anything. So, there has been synergy among all the security agencies situated in the state. Besides that, the Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and the government of Osun have provided opportunity for all stakeholders involved to interact towards the sustenance of security in the state and, that is why Osun is enjoying relative peace.
OSDF: What has been the contribution of your command to the feat that had been achieved on security in the state so far?
Ayodele: We have contributed our quota by providing surveillance in the state, as we have our men in all the 31 LGS. When I say our men, I am talking about our intelligent officers and they are doing quite good job by gathering information for us. Once we get this information as it relates to each mandate of every ministry, we disseminate to all the security agencies. For instance, if a case has to do with NDLEA, we try those cases and then transfer the cases to them. The same thing with the police. In the case of Osun, we don’t have oil pipeline, hence its burden is reduced.
OSDF: What about the protection of electricity cables in the state?
Ayodele: Our cables are very safe. As you know that the protection of critical infrastructures is our core mandate, and when we are talking about critical infrastructures, we are talking about fixed asset in the economy, so that is our core mandate. We have all our guards stationed around every area and ensuring that we do our job the way we should.
We have our men in every sub-stations, we work with IBEDC (Ibadan Electricity Distributions Company) to be precise, collaborate with them, go out with them and any where they discover that the transformer or cable is or about to be vandalised, we take actions.
OSDF: Where is the collaborative point between the command and civil community in the state?
Ayodele: Well, you have said it all, we are closer to communities by the nature of our civic responsibility as implies by the name “Civil”. We respect our name and we maintain that integrity the Federal Government has given to us. Our activities had been so civic in nature. So, we collaborate with our hosting communities to ensure that the society remain peaceful.
OSDF: Do the command, handle civil cases too?
Ayodele: The command handles both civil and criminal cases; we even have power to prosecute, as the act establishing NSCDC empowered us to do so; we have the power to arrest with or without warrant. Sometimes, we run away from some cases, because we don’t want to be at loggerhead with other security agencies.
Besides, as part of peace management, we also engage in conflict resolution among willing public, willing Nigerians when the two parties are willing to settle. We have a lot of cases, we mediate on crises, land disputes, marital issues, and anything that you can think of. One wonderful thing with us is that we respect mandate of other security agencies; we try cases, then transfer cases to them.
If you go to the Nigeria Police, they will tell you the number of cases we’ve transferred to them, the same thing with the NDLEA, NAPTIP and many other.
OSDF: The issue of ritual killings in the state, what is the effort of your command to tackle this menace in our society?
Ayodele: Well, it is a collaborative effort, it is not for Civil Defence alone and we have been doing our very best, once we get information. There is nothing we can do except the people are willing to give us information. For example, there was a case we recently got hint of through intelligent gatherings, and we invited those involved, but they were scared of coming to divulge information. In this case what can we do?
We need to sensitise the public, educate them as we protect them. I am sure why they are afraid is that, they are scared of their lives. We need to do everything possible in seeking collaboration from the public to supply us with information and we assure them that any information that is given to us would be treated with utmost confidentiality.