The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has pleaded with the National Assembly to review its establishing Act with the intention of granting more powers to the Corps.
The Commandant General of the Corps, Dr. Ade Abolurin made the appeal on Tuesday when the Senate Committee on Interior paid an oversight visit to the NSCDC headquarters in Abuja.
While listing the challenges faced by the Corps in carrying out its mandate, he maintained that the legislators had to review penalties for offenses such as vandalism, terrorism and oil theft.
“There is a need for you to look into our Act with a view to review the penalties (for offenders) as well as other loopholes which are being taken undue advantage of.
“For example, because we have resolved to stand for integrity, we have cases where we have arrested about 33 tankers only for us to get to the court and hear things like: ‘this man is thereby sentenced to one year imprisonment with an option of N2000’.
“All these lacuna will not help us. It discourages a lot of people, their passion for the job, their level of sincerity is affected as well as our own passion for the country.”
Dr. Abolurin also complained of shortage of operational equipment and manpower which he said, were affecting the productivity level of the Corps adversely.
We need helicopters
The Commandant General said for the Corps to effectively perform its functions, modern and scientific approaches through the use of sophisticated and high tech equipment must be made available to the Corps.
He noted that the Corps needed helicopters to patrol the creeks where most oil vandalism takes place.
“It will amaze you when you see the terrain our men work in to arrest vandals. We will perform better with such an equipment.”
Dr. Abolurin pointed out that the: “Russian Civil Defence has nothing less than forty helicopters that they work with”, stressing that NSCDC needs more going by the security challenges in the country.
Responding, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior, Senator Abubakar Bagudu expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Corps thus far.
He pledged the commitment of the National Assembly to help the NSCDC perform better through legislation.
Senator Bagudu also allayed fears of a possible scrapping or merger of the NSCDC with other agencies, insisting that they perform a separate and unique function in the society compared to other security outfits.