11 January 2013

Nigeria: Police Against Civil Defence Corps


Some senior officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), including the corps public relations officer, Mr. Emmanuel Okeh, recently came under attack from some members of the Nigeria Police Force. It was an inhuman and violent attack that has again exposed the lack of discipline on the part of some bad eggs within the police force.

It was at the popular Julius Berger Roundabout, Abuja on Wednesday, December 19, 2012, when dozens of well-mobilised policemen descended heavily on members of the NSCDC. And, by the time they were through with them, about five members of the civil defence corps were admitted to different hospitals; some of them received gunshot injuries.

According to sources, the violent attack was carried out by a combination of policemen working at nearby police stations and posts. Trouble started when a chief superintendent of the corps, Mr.Bassey Akpan, protested unwarranted insult from some junior men of the police at the roundabout.

Even though the FCT Police Command, through its spokesperson Doris England, has affirmed that there was no acrimony between both security agencies, we believe the police's action was barbaric, uncivilised and against all known norms and values of responsible security agencies in the world. It is more worrisome when the police appear to have made members of the NSCDC their main target in their several senseless attacks in the past. They have consistently displayed this act of indiscipline in many states and there are no indications that they will not repeat it.

For a nation like ours that is currently battling with huge internal security challenges, a violent attack by the police against other members of a security agency should worry the national security adviser and other stakeholders. The fact that "the police gave birth to all the other security agencies in the country", as noted by the FCT Police Command's spokesperson, is not a justification for some junior policemen to continue to disrespect senior officers of the defence corps.

There have been many reported aborted clashes between the police and the civil defence corps caused by junior policemen who tried to undermine the authority of senior civil defence corps members. In any operation by a civilised security agency in the world, seniority is the key word. The military and other security agencies in our country, except the Nigeria Police Force, have openly and consistently displayed that.

At this trying moment, we need the synergy and cooperation of all security agencies to tackle our security challenges. The few bad eggs within the police and other security agencies that are trying to create friction within the security circle should be called to order urgently.

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