The new helmsman of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Lagos State Command, Commandant Eweka Douglas Okoro has made a passionate appeal to the Lagos State Government for infrastructural and logistics support. This support becomes imperative so as to ensure qualitative service delivery and discharge of excellent duty to the good people of the state. The NSCDC Commandant made the appeal when the Executive Members of the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP), led by the National President, Mr. Oki Samson paid him a courtesy visit in his Ikeja office.
It is important to note the positive outcomes that the strategic support of Lagos State Government has done to safety and security in Lagos. The State Government has massively assisted and continues to support various security agencies with vehicles, equipment, and gadgets in their efforts to strengthen safety and security in Lagos. Special reference must be made to the impact of the funding agency, Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) in this strategic activity.
Pointing out the most important need of the Corps at this time, Commandant Okoro said: ‘The Corps is soliciting the State Governor to give us a land so we can build our office. We are grateful to the state government for giving us this place to stay but we are like tenants to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC). If the owner of the house wants to sell the mortar to pound yam and the tenant wants to buy the mortar, where are you going to pound it?’
He added: ‘This structure is not up to a Division in any of our states – go to Ondo State Command and other states with well-built structures. This is one of the reasons we went to visit the Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG), Mrs. Folashade Jaji, to let them just give us 2,000 square metres opposite Elephant house.’
‘We are not saying give us all the space, we are seeking for 2,000 square metres and we will manage it and build a magnificent office for the Command. We know land in Lagos is like gold, a cherished ornament.’
‘All we want is land. When we get a land you will see a well-built structure. We are ready to build by our organisation and we don’t even need Lagos State government to build for us. We have been writing for over two years and I believe that the state government will work on it. Just give us the piece of land’, he pleaded.
Sharing the longstanding connection of the security agency with Lagos state, the Commandant reflected that the Civil Defence Corps originated in Lagos. ‘The history of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps cannot be separated from Lagos as the Corps began in the State as Lagos Civil Defence in 1967, before attaining the full-fledged status of a nationwide paramilitary organisation by the Act of Parliament in 2003 while the Corps became more empowered by the Act of 2007 as amended.’
This lack of a befitting structure, Douglas Okoro believes, is robbing Lagos of major benefits. ‘There is what we call an inter-governmental organisation, International Civil Defence Organisation (ICDO) in Zurich, Switzerland, where its headquarters is situated. They have been bringing a lot of equipment to other states, including my state, Edo; but we don’t have a space to put it in Lagos.’
‘It is painful that where the Corps began from is not benefitting from the equipment coming from overseas. Those are the challenges we are having. But be that as it may, we have well-trained personnel and we are managing ourselves in these offices.’
The new NSCDC Commandant sincerely thanked the Lagos State Government, the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) and the good people of Lagos State for the magnanimous but crucial gesture of two operational vehicles given to the command. ‘Thank God you saw the two operational vehicles, colour (blue), type (NISSAN) branded with Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps from the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) on Tuesday to assist in our work in a bid to continue to combat crime and criminality in the state. In addition, to continue to render quality and better security services to the good people of Lagos State.’
Speaking on other development within the Lagos Command, Commandant Eweka established that the state is keying into the programme initiated by the Commandant-General of NSCDC, Ahmed Abubakar Audi (PhD). The programme which is called the 4Rs – Rejig, Revamp, Reposition and Reinvigorate – will empower the corps in the protection of lives and property, protection of critical national assets and infrastructure as well as combating oil pipeline vandalism. ‘If you want to work, we are ready to work. We are ready to assist in traffic management, assist in the protection of lives and property, protection of critical national assets and infrastructure as well as combating oil pipeline vandalism. We are working on preventing pipeline explosions, we are being proactive, we don’t let vandals get access to the pipelines let alone damage it before we react; and we are preventing it from coming.’
‘With the little resource at our disposal, we will continue to excel, because we are working for the State and Federal Government, and we will not relent. If you see us in crisis management, you will see us working excellently well and you will know that we are doing service for humanity. We are ready to complement other security agencies like the Police, which is the leading security agency in Nigeria and we have our internal security mechanism where we are doing our best to assist,’ he affirmed.
Speaking on the efforts in place to protect critical national assets and infrastructure like the Dangote Refinery as well as combating oil pipeline vandalism, the commandant noted: ‘As far as Dangote Refinery is concerned, we have about 100 staff working with them, because what the man is putting on there is a serious critical infrastructure.
‘If left to destroy, the Federal Government will not have such money to put it back, so we are to protect it. We were more concerned about the infrastructure, but now we have mapped out a new strategy to protect all pipelines leading to the refinery. We realise that if Dangote gets the refinery done with, the issue of petroleum subsidy will come to pass. But some people don’t want that to stop, they want importation to continue and the Federal Government is spending trillions on subsidizing fuel. But as soon as the company comes into existence, the issue of fuel importation will become a thing of the past and we will not rest on our own, we will do the needful by protecting lives and oil pipeline vandalism as well.’
Appreciating the contribution of the media especially the Online Security News Publishers to the corps, Eweka promised to continue to work in synergy with the media for the good of the people to achieve one common goal and success all the way. ‘My boss at Abuja is telling me they are seeing online publication of what we are doing in Lagos and he is complimenting our effort. I am even surprised that my uncle and friends abroad called me before I could inform them that I was posted to Lagos, all courtesy of the online media. We cannot and we will not do without the media; and we will continue to work in synergy with you for the good of the people.’
‘We will continue to catch up with the press and we are not forgetful of what happened in the past, because when you learn from the past you will move on to the present. I hope you remember “my Oga at the top saga” and we want to live above it. We are trying to work with the press, but we don’t believe in press sensitization; we believe your good work will show.’
‘Please, feel free to call our attention if we have erred, we don’t know it all and we are ready to listen so that the progress of the state will move forward. I appreciate you, we are ready to work with you and I can assure you our goal is your goal and success all the way.’
Earlier, the President of NAOSNP, Mr. Samson Oki said NSCDC has shown its mantle in managing the security situation despite all distractions and security slumps in the country.
Particularly, since the assumption of office, CC Eweka has shown as a “man of action considering the security challenges in Nigeria today. He has maintained a good record of no stain. We are happy about your agency’s handling of the critical infrastructures but demands more proactivity to keep the vandals away from the pipelines.
“Ours, as journalists are to reports authentic facts as it happens. We are all aware that what fueled the anti-SARS protest was fake news, especially in social media. This, we at NAOSNP want to correct by being objective, factual, and give credible reports of events promptly.
“We are credible and reliable association with tested trained journalists. Ours is to change the narrative. What is needed is proper re-orientation.
“The narrative that goes out defines the society and what goes out is largely what people believe. We are not sensational either are we attackers or blackmailers but known for credible news and factual information dissemination,” Oki reiterated.
Accompanied the NAOSNP President on the visit included some Executive members of the association. In addition, some principal officers of NSCDC present included the Deputy Commandant, DCP Frederick Obimma, the spokesperson NSCDC, Lagos State Command, ASCI Abolurin Oluwaseun.