A Coalition of Civil Society Networks (CCSN), on Monday, staged a protest to advocate the amendment of the Act establishing the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and its merger with the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), so as to eliminate duplication of duties.
A spokesperson of the CCSN, Mr Emmanuel Gyara, while addressing journalists in Abuja, on Wednesday, said there was an urgent need to reform the NSCDC, in line with global best practices.
He said CCSN had on Oct. 5, staged a similar peaceful protest at the headquarters of the NSCDC, demanding the immediate and proper reforms of the Corps.
“And today we are here at the National Assembly, Abuja, to present before the distinguished Senators and honourable members of the National Assembly the need to reform the NSCDC.
“Worried by the current insecurity in the country, the Federal Government should commence moves in amending the act setting up the NSCDC.
“There has been a public perception on the conflicting roles of the Nigerian Police and NSCDC, and this outcry by citizens demands attention and immediate actions for reforms and amendment of the Act establishing the NSCDC”, Gyara said.
He added that as a result of the multifaceted security challenges facing the country, both the Federal Government and the National Assembly should work together on the amendment of the NSCDC act, to enable it achieve its core mandate of protecting critical national infrastructure.
The CCSN spokesperson said there was the need to clarify similarities in the security roles played by the NSCDC and the police, so as to eliminate the occurrence of clashes between them.
“Also, the ministry of interior should ensure that there is a synergy between the NSCDC and the police while performing their official duties, to avoid unnecessary conflicts between them.”
Gyara said given the current revenue profile of government, there was need for the government to merge the NSCDC with the Nigerian Police force to reduce operational costs and duplication of responsibilities, while improving man power situation of the police.
He said that if amended, the act would help the current security situation in the country, examine the level of risks to critical assets and infrastructure and finding ways of safeguarding them.
Gyara also called for a proper investigation of the complaints by Nigerian youths on NSCDC’s recruitment processes, especially the alleged job racketeering in recruitments exercise in the recent times.
He commended president Muhammadu Buhari for his relentless support to security agencies, saying that this demonstrated the president’s willingness and commitment to addressing the rising security challenges confronting the nation.
The CCSN spokesperson appealed to Buhari to also provide more resources to the Military, the Police and other sister security agencies, like the Department of State Security Services, for intelligence and prompt operations .
Reacting to the call for the merger of the NSCDC with the police, its Commandant General, Ahmed Abubakar, said: “We say no to merger because once you talk about merger, you talk about unemployment and these are people that are trained in handling arms and when you merge, some people will go away and they are trained in arms ,what are you doing to the society?
“Already, we are contending with issues on the streets, so, we say no to any marriage of inconvenience,” Abubakar said.
The high point of the protest was the chanting of solidarity songs by the protesters displaying banners bearing such inscriptions like, “Say no to under performance of NSCDC”, “Reform and amend the Act of NSCDC for improved security surveillance”, among others.”