Barely 72 hours after the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike raised an alarm on illegal bunkering in the Garden City and fingered the personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Commandant General of the Corps, Dr Ahmed Audi in a swift reaction, has disbanded the anti-vandal unit of the State with immediate effect.
Governor Wike’s directives that all corners of Rivers State should be combed properly to fish out illegal oil bunkering operators and oil thieves in the state perhaps fast tracked the NSCDC’s decision.
The Governor also on Friday gave all the Local Government Area chairmen an ultimatum to search for the perpetrators of illegal oil bunkerers or face the consequences.
A signed statement on Saturday by the spokesman of the NSCDC, Olusola Odumosu said the Commandant General has received with shock and dismay, the allegations levelled against the anti vandal unit of the Rivers State Command of the Corps by the governor wherein the team was accused of aiding and abetting vandals and illegal bunkerers to carry out criminal activities.
He said: “Worried by this disappointing development, the CG has ordered the suspension of head of the anti vandal team and the disbandment of the unit with immediate effect, pending the outcome of an independent enquiry set up to look into the weighty allegations levelled against the unit by the governor.
The CG said that the extant rules and regulations guiding the NSCDC operations and the general ethics of the service requires complete display of total discipline, integrity, incorruptibility, transparency and accountability on the part of every Corps personnel, hence, the reason for this immediate action.
Audi further directed the Acting DCG in charge of investigation and intelligence to summon all the personnel involved to the National Headquarters, Abuja for further investigation to determine the level of involvement and or culpability with a view to dispensing justice appropriately.
He decried the allegations as not being in tandem with his vision for the Corps, stressing that he will not condone any criminal act or act of compromise by any personnel. He emphasised that a thorough investigation would be conducted to ascertain the veracity of the allegation and roles played by the individuals involved, and whoever is found guilty would face necessary disciplinary actions and punishment.
He however assured Governor Wike of getting to the root of the matter without delay, promising more synergy with the state government towards discharging more effective service delivery to the good people of Rivers state. Reiterating further that his administration has come with a renewed vigour to reposition the service in line with global best practices and will not condone any act of sabotage by any personnel no matter how highly or lowly placed.
He said: “The swift action taken by me is to close any identified gaps in our operations and service to the nation. I will not tolerate any act of indiscipline, compromise or sabotage under any guise; our founding fathers have worked so hard to earn good name for the service as a noble organisation and I will not allow a few bad eggs to spoil our name, image, our credibility and integrity. We will investigate those fingered in the allegations and deal decisively with them if found guilty to serve as a deterrent to others.”
Audi emphasised that as the lead agency in the protection of critical national asset and infrastructure, the Corps management would beam more searchlight into that area by reorganising and reconstituting the anti vandal unit with a view to making it more responsive, transparent and accountable to Nigerians.
“Our moral principles are not negotiable; we are going to rejig the unit and fish out those spoiling the name of the Corps. My fight against vandals, illegal oil bunkerers and those stealing our collective wealth and sabotaging our economy is unflinching and we will redoubled our efforts to whittle down this act of sabotage and bring to justice anyone not in tune with our vision and mission for the service,” he said.