As the nation counts down to the 2023 general elections, the Commandant General (CG) of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi, has given marching orders to Zonal Commanders and State Commandants to stop the attacks on INEC facilities or materials nationwide.
According to Director, Public Relations, NSCDC NHQ, Abuja, DCC Olusola Odumosu, Audi gave this order at the last CG’S Quarterly Conference for Zonal Commanders and State Commandants for year 2022, held at the National headquarters, Sauka, Abuja.
The NSCDC boss charged Zonal and State heads to activate their intelligence antennas, warning that they would be held responsible for any attack in their jurisdictions.
“We decided to assemble our colleagues from the Zones and States in other to take stock of what we have been doing so far and then re-echo to ourselves, the need to strengthen our efforts in fighting this monster, insecurity,” Audi said.
“You know that by the virtue of our Acts, it is our duty to provide security and protection for critical national assets and infrastructure.
“We are going to hold our Commandants responsible if there is any attack on INEC facilities in any state. Just work very closely with your counterpart in the Police and other security agencies to protect these INEC offices.
“It is better to prevent than to do damage control, damage control is usually capital-intensive,” he said.
The CG reiterated that the Corps had already begun strategising towards ensuring effective and adequate security to guarantee, free, fair, credible and transparent 2023 general elections.
He assured the populace that the Corps would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that miscreants who had devised new means of attacking INEC facilities were brought to book.
“In the next two to three weeks, the nation is going to begin serious preparations for the general elections, so, this conference is apt, central and germane.
“There is no way that non state actors will surpass the powers of the state. So, we must live up to expectations and uphold the confidence that government has in us,” he stated.
On synergy and partnership with other stakeholders on election matters, the CG directed State Commandants to work closely with the Police who were the lead agency in internal security and other relevant agencies in the area of joint operations to protect the people and pave way for a hitch-free polls next year.
He called on Zonal Commanders to brace up at this crucial moment, mandating them to take full charge of the States under their jurisdiction and furnish his office with report of day- to-day activities in their various zones.
“You must coordinate your states effectively and submit minute-by-minute reports. You must organise workshops for personnel to keep them abreast of the electoral laws as enshrined in the Electoral Act as ammended.
“They must know the rules of engagement. You know our position. You are supposed to be apolitical. If you choose to be partisan, you are on your own,” the CG warned.
The CG further pointed out that there would be massive deployment of personnel to beef up security in sensitive areas across the country during the coming festivities.
“This is a festive period. It is going to be full of activities and so there is going to be a massive deployment of NSDC personnel to sensitive areas, like worship centres, recreational centres and other relaxation spots just to provide security and safety to Nigerians.
“The year 2022 has been very challenging when talking against the backdrop of the activities of bandits, kidnappers and insurgents.
“However, despite the daring challenges, the NSCDC will continue to make a mark in the discharge of its core mandate and other national assignments.
“We have to be on our toes, as the yuletide will usher us into the election year and therefore, we have to live up to our name as Civil Defence by being civil and courteous to Nigerians, politicians and political parties,” he added.
The CG described the conference as crucial to NSCDC’s top management because it enabled them to chart a new path for effective discharge of duties during the year.
He congratulated Zonal Commanders, State Commandants and all officers and men of the Corps on the success and achievements recorded so far and thanked the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for his support and guidance all through the year.