Tongues are wagging among officers and men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) who have taken exception to the tricycle welfare scheme recently approved by the commandant–general, Abubakar Ahmed Audi, for personnel of the paramilitary agency.
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that Audi had in a restricted document signed by the deputy commandant–general administration, Zakari Ibrahim Ningi dated November 23, 2021 announced his approval of a motorcycle/tricycle welfare scheme for the corps.
The memo which was addressed to all chairmen of cooperatives, zonal commanders, commandants, liaison officers and college provosts, said the scheme was through a partnership between the NSCDC national headquarters and Rot-shade Global Resources Ltd in line with the comptroller general’s welfare drive for personnel.
Some officers of the corps are however not pleased with Audi for distributing tricycles (Keke) while his counterparts in other paramilitary agencies are said to be giving out cars and commissioning mass housing schemes for their personnel.
They said, “We are disappointed that while our colleagues from other security outfits are commissioning mass housing schemes, we are getting keke (tricycles) as empowerment. In fact, we want the society to compare and contrast this development.”
The personnel who pleaded not to be named threatened to make the NSCDC-branded tricycles go viral. They said if not erased, the keke revolution may spread to other security agencies, the same way northern Nigeria governors copied Benue State governor Samuel Ortom’s wheelbarrow empowerment for youths.
One of the aggrieved officers, a deputy superintendent of the corps, and an assistant superintendent said; “It was Governor Ortom who first introduced this sort of empowerment. He was later joined by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State who did his Mai Shayi empowerment, giving out tea-making and other breakfast paraphernalia to youths in the state in a colourful public ceremony.
“Next was Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State who opted for empowering Katsina youths with goats.
“Later, Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State bought about 10 (yes, I counted) manual tractors as his own empowerment package. He even got President Muhammadu Buhari to travel to the state to inaugurate this empowerment gesture.
“Then, it was the turn of Jigawa State Governor Badaru Abubakar, who also got the president to travel to Dutse for a well-advertised two-day state visit to inaugurate bowls of mango harvested by “empowered” youths for sale.
“Not to be outdone, Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima also joined the club by organising an elaborate ceremony to unveil his own youth empowerment package: a row of kitted shoe-shine boxes to create a vast army of shoe shiners across the state.”
When contacted, the spokesperson of the Corps, Sola Odumosu explained that the scheme which is aimed at assisting its personnel was inaugurated by the Civil Defence cooperative as part of efforts towards meeting the welfare needs of its men and officers.
He said, ” in actually fact, it’s not in line with the CG’s drive. It’s a personal arrangement between interested members of the cooperative and the aforementioned company.
“The letter was misrepresented but the truth is that the CG cannot dictate what they do with their money”.
The commandant general has a robust plan for officers and even has plans to issue cheques to families of deceased officers amidst other impressive welfare package.
We Need More Hands For Efficiency – NSCDC CG
Meanwhile, the commandant general has appealed to the federal government for recruitment of more personnel into the corps to enhance its operational efficiency and security coverage.
Audi, who made the appeal when he received the governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Sanni Bello, in his office in Abuja, reiterated the three mandates of the corps to include safeguarding all critical national assets and infrastructure, disaster management as well as training, supervision and monitoring of private guard companies.
He assured Nigerians of the corps’ commitment to tackling the menace of kidnapping, abduction, banditry and other criminalities in the country.
Audi also spoke on deployment of over 7,000 specially trained Agro Rangers Squad, with the responsibility of securing farmers and the agro allied industries across the country.
In a statement signed by the director of public relations of the NSCDC, Olusola Odumosu, he noted that the style of terrorist attacks in Nigeria was called asymetric warfare which is different from the conventional war the nation is used to, adding that it could be won if the battle is taken directly to the enemies’ camp.
Responding, Governor Bello lauded the comptroller general for his pragmatic approach to the fight against insecurity in Nigeria.
The governor noted that since his assumption of office, there had been a paradigm shift in the policies and programs rolled out by the corps towards solving the nation’s security challenges.
He said: “We are aware of the deteriorating state of insecurity in the nation; hence all hands must be on deck, the political class, government and individuals must support the security operatives by providing necessary logistics to enhance their operations.”