May 25, 2024

Security agencies’ complicity in oil theft: NSCDC starts self-cleansing

Oredola Adeola

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), which was indicted for collusion in the rising incidence of oil theft in the nation along with other security services, has started a self-cleansing effort to identify and remove officers involved and prevent further involvement.

This was revealed by Dr Ahmed Audi, Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), in a statement obtained by EnergyDay, after holding strategic meetings with commandants and heads of anti-vandal units across the country.

Recall that the Commandant-General had recently disbanded the Rivers State anti-vandal unit of the NSCDC for alleged involvement in illegal bunkering.

The CG also ordered the suspension of the head of the team pending the outcome of an independent enquiry set up to look into the allegations levelled against the unit.

This was against the backdrop of allegations by Nyesom Wike, Rivers State Governor, that some of the officers of NSCDC in that state were aiding vandals and other criminals in the state.

According to the NSCDC Commandant General, the agency is conducting an ongoing discreet investigation of all anti-vandal units of the corps in the wake of concerns about the increasing wave of oil theft in the country.

Vowing to reverse the trend, Dr Audi charged all relevant officials of the Corps to sit up and halt oil theft.

He tasked the officers to check the excesses and inappropriate behaviour of officers to address oil theft and bunkering.

According to him, “some people believe that security agencies are part of oil theft in the country, but we must do what is necessary to redeem our image.”

“There are indications that some of the anti-vandal units in some state commands have been found wanting in the discharge of their duties.

The Corps Management has received reports of irresponsibility and connivance on the part of some of them. Hence, the imperative of summoning all heads of anti-vandal units nationwide to this meeting to deliberate on this dangerous slide and rather unfortunate development, which the Management frowns at as it is inimical to the image the Corps has built over the years.

” The Corps management will not condone any act that could impugn the integrity of the Corps. The import of this meeting is to draw your attention to some of these observed lapses and shortcomings in the operations of the Anti-vandal Squad and the need for a total reorganization and overhauling of the entire Anti-vandal Units across the board to reposition the unit for better performance.

“As heads of anti-vandal units, you are expected to display a high sense of responsibility, commitment, loyalty, and dedication to duty. Let me sound this note of warning that the Corps has no space for mediocrity, laziness, nonchalance, and incompetence and will therefore not hesitate to appropriately deal with any officer found wanting in the discharge of his duties.

” You must therefore go back to your various State Commands and redouble your efforts to re-invigorate, re-engineer and reposition your various Anti-vandal Squads for better performance to justify the confidence reposed in the Corps by the Government and the good people of this great country.

” Members of the Anti-vandal Squad must re-dedicate themselves to our collective goal and objective to curb and checkmate crime and eradicate incidences of oil theft/oil bunkering and vandalism of oil pipelines and other critical national assets and infrastructure CNAI.

“Meanwhile, the Management has commenced a discreet investigation into the activities of the Anti-Vandal Squads across the States, while those found culpable in any act of criminal connivance capable of damaging the image of the Corps will be severely sanctioned to serve as a deterrent.

“Let me also assure you that those who have shown a high sense of responsibility, diligence, competence, and commitment in the discharge of their duties will be rewarded accordingly through the reward system already emplaced by the Corps’ Management,” Dr Audi said.

However, EnergyDay noted that Nigeria’s rising cases of crude oil theft, which is a major challenge in the country’s hydrocarbon industry, has been characterized by all sorts of organized criminality, including the active involvement of security operatives in vandalism and illegal bunkering activities.