Men and officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have recovered over N1 billion from over 600 persons arrested for embarking on illegal recruitment activities over the years, its Head of Public Relations Mr. Emmanuel Okey has disclosed.
Speaking at the Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA), and the Media interactive parley convened by I-Nigerian Initiative in Abuja on Wednesday, Okey also said 380 vandals from across the country were also arrested between January and July 2014.
The latest fraudster was one Michael Ogun from Edo State who was arrested in a suburb of Abuja recently with N495 million and other foreign currencies found in various bank accounts.
While disclosing that over N900 million has been refunded to victims, he advised Nigerians seeking employment with NSCDC to be wary of those peddling fake employment websites and bank accounts as the Corps do not invite applications through the internet and does not demand payment for employment forms.
“Year 2014 has witnessed renewed vigour in our sustained war against crime and other forms of criminality leading to arrests of several criminal elements. Among those arrested are vandals/illegal bunkerers and other criminal elements. Several trucks, jerry cans, barges, boats alongside other tools used by these criminal elements were equally impounded,” he said.
Of the number arrested, 10 have already been convicted by different courts of law while 364 others are undergoing prosecution by either the Economic or Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria Police or NSCDC officers.
Giving a further breakdown, Okey said 293 people were arrested for vandalising oil pipeline and gas installation while the remaining 87 were apprehended for destroying or stealing electricity, telecommunication and railway infrastructure.
He lamented the light convictions that some of the vandals were given and blamed it on available legal lacuna in the form of discretion given to law enforcement agents to either rely on the Legal/Penal Code or the Miscellaneous Offences Act.
In the same vein, the Corps registered 61 private security companies within the period under review while 132 others are in different stages of processing. Seventy eight of them were sealed off for contravention and a sum of N180 million was generated from issuance or renewal of licences.
Speaking on efforts to counter terrorism, Okey said the Corps is presently strengthening surveillance and intelligence gathering mechanism, staff training and retraining and purchase of necessary equipment adding that NSCDC officers are actively involved with other security agencies in insurgency hotspots.
Fifteen thousand personnel of the Corps have been trained by Nigerian Army on counter terrorism and weapons handling in addition to establishing emergency response units at air and sea ports.
NSCDC has so far established three training institutions in Abuja on information and communication technology, Katsina for disaster management and peace studies and in Abeokuta for security management.
In appreciation of the professionalism being displayed by the Corps personnel in security duties, the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Security Agency (NIMASA) has secured the services of 200 NSCDC personnel in securing the nation’s maritime territory.
Since the Corps was handed the responsibility of registering and regulating activities of private security companies in the country, it has taken steps to transform the entities into the third tier security system.
Thus, between January and July 2014, 61 companies were licensed; 132 others are awaiting license; 78 companies were sealed for infractions; 22 of them were reopened and the licenses of 218 were renewed.
Early in her remarks the National Coordinator of I-Nigerian Initiative, Ms Ada Stella Apiafi urged security and response agencies to be open and transparent in their information towards a better informed citizenry.
She added that the responsibility for the way the outside world perceives Nigeria lies with Nigerians. “Notwistanding the challenges that we face as people, we can either make or break that perception by what we project. That is why I-Nigerian Initiative as a non-governmental organisation is active in the redefinition of Nigerians’ perception of the country,” she said