Abdulkadir Alao Sulu is the Osun State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
In this interview with DAILY POST’s Francis Ezediuno, Sulu notes that crime and criminality is on the increase in the country because societal value has been degraded and the present crop of youths are continually being indoctrinated by negative contents on social media.
Osun State of recent has been overwhelmed by the activities of hoodlums, secret cults and street urchins. What to you think is the cause of these developments?
Thank you very much for that question. I think overwhelmed is a bit on the high side. We have a lot of incidents involving hoodlums, and street urchins but generally, I won’t say Osun State has been overwhelmed.
Amongst the 36 states that constitutes the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Osun State is the most peaceful in terms of security.
Incidents of violence that are rampant elsewhere are not recorded in Osun, but definitely, we have our own security challenges.
For the hoodlums and cultists that you referred to, their activities are signs of the times. The values of the society are being degraded. There is lack of respect for the things the older generation held dear and the internet is providing negative indoctrination to the youths. There is also this get rich quick syndrome.
All these are contributory factors to the security challenges we are facing presently.
There is also the use and abuse of illicit drugs including Indian hemp and others, which is contributing to the security challenges being faced.
What has the NSCDC done to curtail these dangerous trends?
As a security agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria, we have areas we refer to as core mandates in which the corps is the primary agency responsible.
For instance, the protection of critical national assets and infrastructures is one of our core mandates.
The supervision and monitoring of the private guard sector is another core mandate. We are also involved in the general protection of lives and property across the territory of Nigeria.
So when you are referring to the issues of cultism, hoodlums and drugs, we have been working closely with the Nigeria Police, which is the primary agency for internal security, Directorate of State Security which is concerned principally with preventing the subversion of the territory of Nigeria, working with the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency which is concerned with drugs and from our ends, we have been upholding the protection of critical national assets and infrastructures. So we are doing a lot to curtail the impact of the current security situation.
Is there any synergy between the sister security agencies in the state, especially between the police and civil defence when it comes to security matters?
There is a perfect relationship. On a personal level, we have a perfect understanding between the leadership of the agencies both at the national, zonal and state command levels. This warm personal relationship flows down the ladder, ensuring co-operation between officers of the two sister agencies at the state headquarters, area commands and local government area divisions.
We work closely together. We recognise that we are all on the side of the Nigerian people, protecting lives and property and enforcing the law.
Of course, like I said, there are core mandates for each of the agencies but as we all know, we have challenges. Inadequate manpower is one. We share and transfer information regarding crimes and criminals to agencies that have mandate to deal with such.
What is the state of security in Osun State?
My claim that Osun is one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria is based on what is happening in other states of the federation. So it is a comparative analysis. Of course, we have heard of children being kidnapped from boarding schools, bus loads of commuters hijacked by bandits and the passengers kidnapped and taken into the bush in some parts of Nigeria. We have had incidents where security officers are being kidnapped and recently there have been incidents of jailbreaks in Benin City and Owerri.
Of recent, we have had the headquarters and some police stations attacked and burnt. There is no doubt that none of these has happened in Osun.
We have our own security challenges, but it is minimal compared to other parts of Nigeria, and we are actually working towards ensuring that we even minimise it further through co-operation amongst the various security agencies.
What of Osogbo, the state capital?
Generally, it is people that commit crimes and the state capital tends to have larger population than the other parts.
You can be assured that security agencies are aware of dark spots within the state capital. Be rest assured that within the next few weeks, you will see signs of action being taken to neutralise those dark spots.
It has been observed that most information about crimes, criminals and criminalities are obtained from social media, does the NSCDC react to them?
We actually have several media for gathering information that we use to produce intelligence. There is open source intelligence, electronic intelligence, there is human intelligence and a lot of information are pushed to the social media these days via Android phones.
To produce intelligence, you must analyse because at times, people deliberately pass wrong information to mislead and misdirect the efforts. We need to analyse information, get it confirmed to actionable intelligence before we take action on it.
The explosion of the social media has even made our job easy in terms of information gathering but also difficult to carry out secret operations.
This is one of the reasons security agencies see the need to collaborate because criminals do actually cooperate amongst themselves. Criminals cooperate to share information and if we on this side of the law don’t cooperate, then they are likely to win, and we will lose.
Just as we can use the social media to gather information, criminals also use it to pass information in order to frustrate our efforts, but we are also trying to be one step ahead.
What is the NSCDC doing to curtail the activities of illegal miners in the state?
Generally, we have a problem with managing natural resources. Legal and illegal miners work in the same environment.
Unfortunately, it is not the business of the corps to do the licensing, but it is the business of the corps to ensure law and order. It is the business of the corps to ensure law and practices of mining are done in a way that the environment is not degraded irredeemably.
To do this and ensure that it is only those who are licensed that are engaged in the mining business, we work closely with the Federal Ministry of Mines.
We have personal and official contacts with the Federal Mines Officer who is the custodian of the licences that are issued to cover the state.
When they are reports of suspicious illegal mining activities being perpetrated, we bring these to the attention of the Federal Mines Office, and jointly we send out patrol teams to confirm.
For every location, there must be documentation of licences to cover their activities. For every mining being done without licences, arrests are made and mining activities are brought to a halt immediately. Anywhere sufficient evidence can be gathered for prosecution, the cases will be taken to court.
Is Amotekun within the core mandate of the NSCDC?
To the best of my knowledge, Amotekun has not applied for Private Guard Company Licence. What is conceived in the Private Guard Law is Limited Liability Companies that are interested in providing security services to the public and they have to be regulated.
The Amotekun corps is established by the laws of the state, so they are not a Limited Liability Company providing security service.
What is the relationship between the NSCDC Osun Command and the state government?
We all know that the Nigerian Constitution recognises and empowers the executive governor as the chief security officer of the state which means all other agencies that are supposed to provide security service are supposed to do so in assisting the governor to ensure the security of the state.
It is in this regard that the civil defence corps like all other security agencies has been working closely together with the state government.
The corps is one of the members of the State Security Council. We have been attending meetings and making contributions, we have been taking directives and like I said, we have been collaborating and working closely with the state government to maintain law and order and protect lives and property in the state.