From Victor Seyi, Ilorin
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has kicked against engagement of unofficial security outfit for monitoring of oil pipelines in any part of the country.
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin at the weekend, the Kwara State commandant of the NSCDC, Mr. Augustine Obiekwe, said such forces should not even be funded by government.
This is just as the corps confirmed arrest of five oil pipeline vandals, including five vehicles with vandalised oil products along Jebba and Asa local government area between June and August 2015.
“The truth is that we don’t need such forces to even be funded by government because such fund should be channelled to the regular agency like the civil defence that is created specially for anti-vandalism and prosecution of vandals. At best, we can use them as
volunteer informants. That’s just how we can use these OPC and all these unofficial hands”, he said.
Mr. Obiekwe also said that sister security agencies in the country were expected to hand suspected vandals to the NSCDC for prosecution, added that NSCDC is the only agency created to prosecute suspected vandals.
“Yes, law, crime and criminality are actually interwoven. So, we believe in synergy. Though, vandalism is essentially created for civil defence corps, but where an officer of the police, army or immigration makes an arrest of a vandal, it is expected that he hands over to
NSCDC for prosecution. That’s part of synergy. And when you respect the areas that belong to others it enhances cooperation, understanding and collaboration. And so what we are saying is that if there’s a case of armed robbery, we make arrest and send to appropriate quarter, police. If it has to do with drug addiction or drug peddling, it goes to NDLEA. So we expect that when it has to do with vandalism, or anti-vandalism, it comes to NSCDC. That’s what I think should be part of synergy”, he said.
The NSCDC chief, who said that five suspected vandals were arrested by officers of the corps between June and August in the state, added that they were being prosecuted in the federal high court.
“Some were arrested at the pipeline, and others were arrested moving their trucks of the vandalised products. And we have brought them to court. We have our legal and intelligence department dealing with the matter”, he said.
Obiekwe, however, lamented that the support the corps used to get from Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) in the task of monitoring oil pipelines was no longer coming because of the unresolved leadership problem currently within the association.
He also regretted absence of logistics support from the state government in the task of carrying out their functions in the state.
“They gave us two pick-up vehicles in the past and they used to give us logistics support towards their fuelling. But now, it’s no longer coming and so we try within our meagre resources to fuel our regular patrol vehicles at these pipelines. We do it night and day. It’s a
regular patrol. Even just yesterday at a particular area along Asa, there’s a pipeline there. It was discovered punctured by these intending vandals. We quickly discovered and sent message to the depot manager. He then sent his repair team. We gave them security cover. So they waited with them to get the punctured pipeline repaired.
“Monitoring is a daily affair. It requires logistics support. And definitely, we are not having it from the state government or the IPMAN. The state government complains it does not have the financial ability to render assistance. So nothing is coming from the state government to support us. But we can still say that the state gives us its promise. We are hoping that it will be better,” he said