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By Tope Adaramola  
 Published July 26th, 2011

It is no longer news that security of lives and property is a sine qua non for enduring progress and development of any nation. In other words, the concept of development could only be complete against the backdrop of peace of mind of the average citizens in a particular country or society.

In Nigeria, the security situation in recent time has become precarious, posing serious challenges to the survival of the nation as well as her fledgling polity. Aside from conventional crimes which happen on a daily basis across the country, the new dimension of security threats posed by the vicious Boko Haram sect has continued to task governmentís capability to contain security crisis and provide a clement environment necessary for development.

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It is probably against this backdrop and the seeming proclivity of government security institutions to rise to the challenges of combating this challenge that the Commandant General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr Ade Abolurin recently revealed the intention of the Corps to bear arms. He opined that the rate of crime required that all security institutions must rise up to the new security challenges facing the country, without fail.

But good as the disposition of the NSCDS Commandant General is on this issue, there is the need to address some issues that may make such intention counter- productive.

While acknowledging the positive roles which the Corps has been is playing to its sister security organisations since inception, particularly in the security of the nationís strategic assets, there are yet more rooms for improvement in the area of security information gathering, in order to curb criminality. It is instructive that most developed countries embark on pro- active rather than reactive security measures, as we are usually disposed to do in our country. It is the belief that our security institutions wait for crime to be committed before it is tackled, usually to our detriment. As the saying goes, crime perpetrators are not ghosts or spirits; they live in our midst and could only be dislodged on the basis of information volunteered by the people. But Nigerians are usually reluctant of disclose such information because of the likely boomerang effect of their action in the hands of bad eggs in the security institutions who may turn around to leak them to perpetrators of the crime. Herein lies the need for security institutions to live above board in the issues of integrity and high ethical conduct.

It is noteworthy that without bearing arms, the NSCDC has enjoyed a rare appeal and respect from the populace even better than its sister organisations. This disposition may change if the corps begins to bear arms. Also, aside from predisposing the officers and men to greater hazards from criminals, the bearing of arms by officers and men of the Corps has the tendency of accentuating arms proliferation as chances are high, from experience, that the more arms in circulation, the more its likelihood of getting into wrong hands. This would be counter- productive on the long run..

But be that as it may, the NCDCS will do well to further look into the area of further supporting or rendering complementary service through stricter support to for internal security as well as control the nationís entry points. For instance, there has been a strong notion that the nationís borders are extremely porous making the nation vulnerable to incursion of illegal immigrants, some of who have dubious intentions. Also, the corps will do well to accelerate steps towards motivating its officers and men, to make them more committed and dedicated to their duties. The issues of non promotion of deserving officers and men of the organisation since 2003, apparently stalled by the verification exercise which began since 2007. With or without arms, it definitely takes a well motivated security organisation to fight the type of hydra headed crime monster bearing it fangs on us as a nation at the moment.

Tope Adaramola is a public analyst based in Lagos

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