The recent assassination attempt by the Police on the Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, may have come as a surprise to many, but to the officers and personnel of the Corps it is not a surprise as their impasse with the Police has been on for long time.
For the Officers and men of the Civil Defence, they have been under attacks from officers and men the Nigerian police, as there has been series of attacks experienced by the Corps in the hands of the police.
As it is to many Nigerians, brutalities, extra judicial killings are the hallmarks of police officers, who are supposed to be friends of the people but the most surprised aspect of it all now is that why Police are fighting Military and paramilitary whom supposed to be working together as a team, no wonder insecurity are the order of the day in Nigeria.
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A case in example is how the Police carried out an act of brutality; this time around it is not only NSCDC officer alone that suffered it but Prison Armed squard as well, a lady officer for that matter.
Friday 21st of March 2014 cannot be easily forgotten by both Officers of NSCDC & Nigeria Prisons Service Inspector Adeduyite Blesssing (NSCDC) & Prison Assistant Afolabi Dorcas (NPS), both officers were engaged by FCT Minister as remembers of Special Tax-force in FCT to get rid of hoodlums and other vices in the city.
An eyes witness gave account of the scene as follow: After the day operation both officers were in the same vehicle returning back to their respective home before their vehicle were double crossed by An officer of Nigeria Police force in mufti, he accused them of driving recklessly, they responded to him that Can you identify yourself please? that is where the trouble started, the Police officer challenged them that who are they to asking him such a question, this led to a serious argument between them, in the process some Police officers in near-by Police Station in Kubwa-FCT intervened on the matter and they supported their colleagues in beaten down both officers of NSCDC & NPS to a state of comma, after bushed them with Gun, a police officer even threating to shoot them to death and nothing will happen since they (NSCDC) failed to learn from their lesson in Lagos where two of their officers were killed by Police & nothing came out of it. He even boasted that Officer Mathew that Killed them then are back to the station and walking freely on the street of Lagos.
They latter locked both officers inside the cell for more than 24hours before the intervention from the NSCDC authority.
In another show of shame by the Police, it was gathered that Police ambushed Civil Defence officers and aided vandals in Niger.
Report from the NSCDC indicates that the Anti-vandal Team of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were attacked by Nigeria Police officers recently in Niger.
It was reported that the Policemen deliberately ambushed the men of Anti-vandal Team of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) with the purpose to aid & escape of the vandals.
A source at the NSCDC gives account of the incident says that; we got the information that there is likely to be vandalization activities by suspected vandals in the area, and our men switched to action as usual, on getting to the entrance of the bush, our men were stopped by Police not to enter the bush.
Witnesses put the time of the incident at between midnight and 2 a.m.; and allege that the suspected vandals had contacted the police officers who then ambushed the team.
“Immediately the police got wind of the information, they laid siege for the civil defence officers and deflated the four tyres of the first vehicle, threatened to open fire on the NSCDC patrol vehicles; the witness said
“One of the policemen said we (NSCDC) had no right to operate in the area,” the source said. “The NSCDC men explained that it was their duty to protect all government facilities including oil pipelines.”
He said added that Police knows that both NSCDC and Police are supposed to be agents of Federal government and to protect infrastructures not to aid and abet vandals, even as he wonder why Police officers take pleasure in always molesting NSCDC officers, saying that such incidents occur regularly.
In another attack by the police recently, the Civil Defence reports that Police killed two NSCDC Officers, and also released Vandals.
According to the report, the NSCDC said that in what could be described as a commando attack; The Nigeria Police ambushed and opened fire on men of the anti-vandal squad of the Lagos State Command of NSCDC, killing two men on the spot while others escaped with gunshot wounds in Ikorodu axis of Lagos State.
This incident occurs at about 3am on that fateful day, while the officers and men of the corps were returning from a successful anti-vandal operation where vandals were arrested along with their exhibits and being transported back to the state headquarters of the Corps. According to an eye witness account, the vandals made calls to their police collaborators for support as they could not overwhelm the anti-vandals team of the Corps.
Immediately the Police got wind of the information laid siege for the Corps and open fire on the NSCDC patrol vehicles killing two while others scampered for their dear lives with gunshot wounds as the vandals were released immediately by the police.
On seeing that it was the police, the men of the corps refused to fire a single shot from their rifles but could only express sock at a sister agency who ordinarily should assist in fighting crime and other criminality are the ones aiding them while the vandals continue to flourish in crime.
It was gathered that the attack happened at about 3am, just as members of Civil Defense were returning from a successful anti-vandals operation, where vandals were arrested along with their exhibits.
The slain officers have been identified as an Assistant Inspector, Gabriel Adaji and Inspector Innocent Akegbe. Their corpses were taken to the Military Hospital Mortuary, Yaba.
It was gathered that the arrested vandals were already being taken back to the Lagos State Command of the Civil Defence when all hell broke loose.
A source claimed that the Civil Defence officers were ambushed by policemen working with vandals. The attack came barely minutes after one of the vandals, allegedly made a call.
Another source further said: “Immediately the police got wind of the information, they laid ambush for the Civil Defence officers. As soon as they sighted the men, they immediately opened. The men were overwhelmed by flying bullets. The bullets seemed to be coming from all sides, attacking the patrol vehicle. Many of the officers were hit, but two died instantly. Others, who were injured, ran for their lives. We heard that the vandals were released immediately by the shooters.”
One of the wounded Civil Defence officers explained that they were caught unaware and did not retaliate because the men were in police uniform, thus they knew they were law enforcement officers like them. Little did they know that the policemen came to attack them.
The Civil Defence vehicle, marked CD 15A01, was said to have been riddled with bullets and covered in blood.
Spokesperson of the Lagos Civil Defence Corps, Kehinde Dada said the officers had gone on a raid of vandals in Ikorodu and were returning back when they were ambushed by the police who shot dead two civil defence corps.
She said the attack was sudden and did not give the civil defence officers the chance to defend themselves.
Another civil defence officer alleged that the vandals called the police that their men had been arrested and wanted the police to rescue them, saying that the police stormed the scene and shot at civil defence officers and killed two of them.
The officer said this was not the first time policemen would be attacking civil defence officers.
The Deputy Public Relations Officer (DPRO) of NSCDC, Mr. Shola Odumosu explained that on Wednesday two of their men were killed and five other officers were seriously injured, while carrying out their official duty.
Odumosun stated that the four suspected NNPC Pipeline vandals were released by the police, who escaped with them.
He said: “While the police escaping with the suspects, a police identity card of one Inspector Sunday Gabriel, with Force No. 1206ZZ, attached to Pipeline vandals Taskforce and his service pistol fell down.
“We have these exhibits with us. The police anti-pipeline vandal taskforce cannot claim they don’t know Civil Defence uniform and patrol van. The attack is an indication of hatred against the Corps for winning the war against vandals.
“It is only uniform men conniving with vandals to sabotage the Nigeria economy that would deliberately open fire on our men so that their evil trade will continue.”
The DPRO said that the corpses have been deposited at the mortuary, while the bullet ridden patrol van parked at the Lagos command headquarters, Alausa.
He said that NSCDC authority has taken the case with the appropriate authorities, with a view to investigate the matter.
Meanwhile, the police officers involved in the incident have been arrested and detained at the police headquarters, Ikeja.
However, the one that came to public more clearly was the assassination attempt on the Commandant General of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr Ade Abolurin who was on inspection and assessment tour of disposable forfeited items along with other committee members from the Nigerian Army, EFCC, ICPC, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation among others came under siege when a suspected police inspector attempted to open fire on them at Ikorodu, Lagos state.
The attack was orchestrated by the arrest of some suspected vandals and oil thieves on the waters in possession of petroleum products in several jerry cans, including two big Cotonou boats. The suspected police team who came in an unmarked danfo bus carrying AK47 riffles challenged the CG that they are in charge, so, he has no right to visit the area because it belongs to the police.
The committee which the CG, NSCDC is the chairman was constituted by the office of the Attorney General of the federation and have for some time now been on assessment tour of the country for disposable forfeited items used for vandalism of critical infrastructure. However, attempt by members of the committee to caution the officer was rebuffed by him and members of his team claiming that they are on a mission here so everyone should steer clear.
Further investigation reveals that a distress call was put across to the suspected police team by the arrested vandals and upon arrival, their aim was to set them off the hook of NSCDC by threatening to shoot the CG who masterminded the arrest of their partners in this illicit business and secondly to prevent the committee from confiscating the recovered items which has become exhibits in event of prosecution.
It is however unclear if the suspected officer was working on a written script by a superior authority or just acting in his own capacity as a vandal in uniform. What is however clear is that, this is the umpteenth time that officers and men of the corps has been brazenly harassed, molested, assassinated or maimed by officers of the Nigeria police in recent time in the cause of carrying out their legitimate assignments. Still fresh in our memory is the killing of two men of the anti vandal squad of the Lagos state command of NSCDC namely AIC Gabriel Adaji and IC Innocent Akegbe by the police in 2013.
Meanwhile, the Act establishing the NSCDC is unequivocal in its assignment of the duty of protection of critical infrastructure of government and national assets to the corps with tremendous record of achievement by the organization as evident in the various arrest of vandals in different parts of the country and prosecution of same to serve as deterrent to others and to ensure that Mr President’s effort in ensuring that life becomes more meaningful for Nigerians through the provision of basic amenities such as unfettered supply of petroleum products, uninterrupted power supply among others is actualized