By Yarima Habu Mohammed
The Commandant – General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Abdullahi Gana Muhammadu is known as an innovative and ingenious leader. Traces of his ingenuity have been noticed in almost all segments of the organization he heads. Since his assumption of the leadership of the Corps, he has taken deliberate steps towards making his organization a success. I have it on strong authority that he is a great fun of many. In other words, a lot of people admire his mastery of the job, commitment to duty and zeal to work.
In response to the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration’s quest for the diversification of the economy from being oil dependent, the Commandant-General set-up Agro – Rangers, an arm of the Corps meant to curb the nefarious activities of cattle rustlers, armed robbers and kidnappers in order to remove security challenges faced by large scale commercial and industrial farmers and pastoralists. This will create an enabling environment for most farmers to produce optimally and encourage agriculture to be a major spring board towards economic diversification. In Abdullahi Gana’s words, we set up this unit “to deal with all problems faced by our agro-businessmen and women as well as small scale farmers and herders”. “As I speak,” he went on, “local and foreign agriculturalist have invested billions of naira in agricultural activities and need to be protected”. He stressed further that the Corps has about 4,000 Agro-Rangers for this purpose.
Large farms such as Golden Hectares and Gurara Farms along Abuja-Kaduna road as well as those along Abeokuta-Sango Otta road and the palm oil farms in Benin City among others are being provided security cover by the Civil Defence Corps’ Agro-Rangers for effective protection of investments in the Agro-Allied sector. Water dams across the nation are also being guarded by these men. The understanding the Commandant – General of the Corps has with the Ministers of Agriculture and that of Water Resources is fast yielding fruit. The commencement of the operations of the Agro-Rengers in Kaduna which was personally witness by the Commandant-General is an indication of his believe that this is a panacea for the rampant banditry that has bedeviled our country.
It is hoped that government on its part will appropriate sufficient funds to the Corps in order for it to deal decisively with this menace so that we can grow agriculture. Adequate funding is necessary because of the broad based nature of the Corps’ mandate. Needless to state, however, the Corps in conjunction with sister agencies, secures and protects lives and properties of Nigerians. It also protects all national assets and infrastructure in energy, telecom, oil and gas, rail and water transportation as well as mines and steel sectors. In addition, it manages disasters and monitors private guard companies in order to remove quackery and enhance professionalism. The Corp has striven hard to stop pipeline vandalisation, oil theft and adulteration of petroleum products. Civil Defence Corps’ anti-vandals squad was deployed to man all major pipeline and oil installations across the country, especially the Niger Delta region where a lot of arrests were effected with illegal refineries destroyed.
As an embodiment of integrity and propriety, the Commandant-General has excelled in almost all the departments under his watch. Closely related to the foregoing is the deployment of over 5,000 personnel of the Civil Defence Corps to the North – East geo-political zone of this country to provide security for internally displaced persons in most of the towns and villages already liberated by the military. This is geared towards promoting lasting peace in the region. In a rare show of patriotism, the Commandant-General also toured the entire region as a call to duty and to boost the morale of his personnel.
To perform these functions efficiently and effectively, the Corps Commandant-General, Abdullahi Gana realized that we are in a knowledge based era; and introduced a policy of training and retraining of personnel in order to strengthen capacity and improve productivity. Hence, over 12,000 officers and men of the Corps have recently been sent for seminars and various forms of workshops. International donor agencies such as UNDP have also been supportive in this regard. Currently, training is ongoing for additional 2,000 personnel as peace Ambassadors and mediators to perform the role of alternative dispute resolution officers. The Commandant-General ensures that surveillance and intelligence gathering receive the desired attention. While the Corps is already incorporated into the Joint Intelligence Board due to their performance profile, the National Security Adviser has also been supportive in the area of manpower development and capacity building through workshops and seminars.
Staff welfare and insurance policy are also on the front burner for the Corps’ Commandant-General. All officers of the corps are insured in the event of accident, death or disability in the course of duty. Payment of staff salaries and other allowances, including shift duty allowances are promptly paid. What is more, the Commandant – General has also supported and promoted sporting activities. Over the last three years, the Corps has come first in almost all games and sporting tournaments they have attended. This helps personnel keep fit physically, mentally and emotionally to be able to fight crime.
Of recent, illegal miners’ activities have also been adequately checked by men of the Corps. They have ensured that only licensed miners’ operate in most minefields. This has raised the revenue profile of government by a very wide margin. In addition, emergency response outfit has been created by the corps and deployed to all major airports along with ambulances nationwide to enhance operational efficiency.
On the whole, Abdullahi Gana Muhammadu, the Commandant-General the Corps has become an inspiration to many as an acclaimed administrator and manager of men. A man of sober and unruffled countenance, the Commandant-General has been a tremendous motivation to officers and men of the Corps. Properly nuanced and principled, Abdullahi Gana is open and truthful and has shown great resilience and capacity since he took office. It is pertinent to note that Civil Defence’ Agro-Rangers is a unit that will come to the rescue of our Agricultural sector as means of diversifying our economy.
Dr. Yarima Mohammed Wrote from Abuja.