• Tue. Jun 21st, 2022

Police vs. NSCDC: revisiting the inter-agency rivalry

ByJanice K. Merrill

May 1, 2022

It’s getting more and more annoying. BODE OLAGOKE writes about the recent clash between Nigeria Police personnel and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) in Imo State.

Background
It is news and a call for concern when two government agencies tasked with maintaining peace and order turn out to be the sources of crisis in the same society.
The various reported clashes between the Nigerian Police and other sister agencies, particularly the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), require the attention of the highest authority in the country, in which the Police have always been accused of being at the origin of some of the conflicts.
Examples abound
Reports, for example, have revealed that between 2005 and 2019 there were traffic-related police and military conflicts.
In October 2005, at the Ojuelegba bus stop in Lagos, the resistance of two soldier soldiers on a commercial bus to the police’s attempt to extort money from the driver led to a clash between the police and army officers. As a result, soldiers from the barracks of Abalti, Ojuelegba and police officers from the “C” area command clashed in a deadly confrontation with weapons. Three police officers died, of which 50 vehicles were completely set on fire during the crash.
Another conflict between police officers from Badagry Police Station and soldiers from Reconnaissance Battalion 242, Ibereko Barracks Badagry, May 2011, consumed Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) and eight others. Police had fired on an army officer at a checkpoint to which the soldiers returned fire, killing the officers who were on their way to the military base to reconcile.
In April 2017, a soldier and three policemen paid the top price in Yobe state, following a bitter dispute between the two agencies. The report says an army officer ran into Mopol unit leader Damaturu’s convoy and was later beaten. The soldiers avenged the assault by capturing Commander Mopol.
Again, in Calabar, the capital of Cross State, it was the center of another conflict; this time, between the police and the navy. A nighttime attack by naval officers on May 29, 2017 left several police officers dead and leveled a police station. The attack was due to a minor scuffle between a traffic cop and a naval officer near Calabar Stadium.

The Imo experience For example, the recent invasion of NSCDC’s Imo State Command) reportedly resulted in the death of one of the NSCDC officers while the state commander was manhandled and dragged in his boxers.
It was reported that heavily armed men from the Owerri Mobile Police Squadron-18, who attacked NSCDC personnel alongside the commander and his officers in what observers described as a commando attack, fired sporadically, forcing residents of the area to run for safety. Prior to the attack, it was learned that a heated argument ensued between the driver of the NSCDC boss and a police officer in mufti, who was blocking the way of exit of the Commander’s entourage who was returning from Abacheke, the bunkering site where dozens of people were burned alive in Egbema.
Witness account
An NSCDC staff member who went by the name Ikechukwu explained that “When the commanders’ security escorts asked him to step aside, the non-uniformed officer vehemently refused without even disclosing his identity. He was, however, ignored on the commander’s directive.

“However, rather than going his way, the policeman unknown to the men of the corps made a phone call to his colleagues who mobilized at the command headquarters while he followed the entourage to Owerri.
“On arriving at the corps office, as the commander was about to enter the command, the man blocked the NSCDC boss, pulled out a gun and announced that he was a policeman. Seeing this, he was immediately arrested and arrested by NSCDC officers who also grabbed the gun to avoid danger.
Another officer told reporters that after his release he returned with heavily armed enraged Mopol men who entered into chaos beating, shooting and attacking the two officers and their facilities on the premises.
In the process, when the commander, Mr. Ogar, who was already in his office, rushed to settle the situation upon hearing the gunshots, the enraged officers attacked him, beat him in his uniform, after which he was stripped down to his boxers before being dragged away.
This happened at NSCDC’s Imo State Command Headquarters located on Okigwe Road along Works Layout.
The furious Mopol officers who threatened to shoot the commander reportedly boasted that nothing would happen since they (NSCDC) had not learned their lesson from previous attacks where nothing had come of it.
In a phone conversation with a resident who requested anonymity, he said: “The invading police should have taken a more civilized approach to solving the problem instead of taking the laws into their own hands. I expect the state police commissioner to pick up the guys who attacked the NSCDC headquarters and punish them appropriately.

Police and NSCDC mandates
For years, the Nigerian Police has existed with the primary objective of making Nigeria safer and more secure for economic development and growth, creating a safe and secure environment for all who live in Nigeria.

It must also partner with other security agencies and the public to collect, collate and share information and intelligence for the purpose of keeping the country safe and secure.
It is also about participating in efforts to address the root causes of crime while ensuring that all criminal acts are investigated in order to bring criminals to justice in a fair and professional manner.
“To create an efficient, effective, well-trained and highly motivated workforce, with deliberate efforts to improve the capability and well-being of all officers and men of the Force, among others.

Like other military and paramilitary organizations such as Federal Fire Service, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Correctional Service, the NSCDC Act enacted by the National Assembly has the primary mandate to assist in the maintenance of peace and order. and in the protection and rescue of the civilian population in an emergency.

“Maintain round-the-clock surveillance of federal, state, and local government infrastructure, sites, and projects.

“Enter and search the premises of any suspected illegal dealer of petroleum products or equipment used by Power Holding Company of Nigeria, Postal Services, Nigeria Telecommunication or for any other utility or infrastructure.

“Have the power to arrest with or without warrant, detain, investigate and prosecute by or on behalf of the Attorney General of the Federation in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria against any person who is reasonably suspected of having committed an offense under this Act, among others.

Exit
While several commentators are of the view that various incidents of clashes between the police and other agencies were the result of claims of supremacy, security expert and retired military man Ahmed Suraj urged the government, in especially the Ministry of Police Affairs and Police Service Commission to call men to order and impress him on the need to respect other military and paramilitary agencies of government.
The ex-servicemen said the government should not sit idly by over disrespecting staff from other sister agencies, saying civilians would be the recipients if the battle for supremacy continues between the supposed peacekeepers in the society.