By the act of intentionality or, maybe coincidence, when President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR announced the appointment of Ahmed Abubakar Audi Ph.D, mni as the new Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on 1st of March 2021, he was actually doing so on the World Civil Defence Day. This is a day recognized worldwide to celebrate the honor and prestige of those in civil protection and to call on more people to learn about safety measures and protection skills they would need in the case of any form of emergencies, natural or man-made.
Now the Doctor of Public Administration has justified the confidence of the President in him in just 365 days as today, 1st of March 2022 is another World Civil Defence Day. The promotion has proven that the man possesses the prowess and capacity to lead one of Nigeria’s foremost paramilitary organizations. It is doubtful that a first-year student in a Nigerian secondary school who gets a class work in Civic Education would mention three security agencies without stating Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). It is also likely that the next question from the teacher will be ‘who is the Commandant General of NSCDC’? Of course the – Triple A – ‘Ahmed Abubakar Audi phd, mni’ comes up. This is to affirm the leading role that NSCDC plays in maintaining peace and security in Nigeria.
It deserves mention that the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) is a child of reason, National Association of Online Security News Publisher, NAOSNP can ascertain. A brief historical check showed that it was birthed in 1967 at the emergence of the Nigerian Civil War for the protection of the civilian population in Lagos which was the-then Federal Capital Territory. It became a national security outfit in 1984. It earned its full-fledged status as a federal paramilitary organization with the enactment of the NSCDC Act 2003 (amended in 2007). Today, the organization is a member of the International Civil Defence Organization (ICDO) alongside 57 others. Hence, Nigeria is celebrating World Civil Defence Day.
At the heart of the security efforts of the organization is the safeguarding of critical national assets and infrastructure, disaster management, and rescue of victims during emergencies. Others are the protection of agro-allied industries and amicable resolution and settling of herder-farmer disputes within communities. The training, monitoring, supervision, and licensing of private guard companies also fall into the pivotal mandate of the agency. These and others CG Abubakar Audi and his amazing team pursue with intense passion and unflagging commitment. The recipient of the prestigious National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP) Exemplary Leadership Award is a blessing to this generation and a pride to the nation
ADDRESSING THE WRONGS
For Audi, the last 365 days has been work and more work attended by results and more results. Of immediate concern to him was why some of his officers would be stagnant at one position for years, for some individuals, a decade. Why should a person be at a rank for 10 years when it is not as if they are not qualified? That is how a leader thinks, an empathic leader, to stress. Within three months of assumption of office, CG Audi broke the jinx and the promotion of officers happened. It is not going to stop as long as an officer is deserving and diligent. The welfare of officers is another priority for the Commandant-General with the prompt payment of salaries and allowances, pensions and gratuities, and other remunerations.
This is a testament to the reputation of the man who has huge desire and great pursuit for excellence. it is this same willingness to cross the t’s and dot the i’s that led him back to Nasarawa State University Keffi to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration in 2019. This was despite that he already bagged a PhD in the same field specializing in Public Policy Analysis from the same university in 2014. He wants all academic records harmonized. Interestingly, in the same 2019, he earned the award of Masters in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (MLCJ) from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. The well-read Abubakar also holds a Masters in Public Administration from University of Calabar in 2001 and a Bachelor’s degree in Physical and Health Education in 1995 from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
Also of primal attention for Dr. Audi is the adequate training and retraining of its officers. This is why NSCDC officers enjoy a huge advantage over other security agencies because they glean multi-faceted knowledge from all of them including the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police, Nigeria Correctional Service, Department of State Security, National Intelligence Agency, Nigeria Immigration Service, et al. Virtually every officer of NSCDC bear arms and they do so with every sense of responsibility.
EVERY MONDAY AT MUSTER PARADE
If you have the opportunity to visit the National Headquarters of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Abuja on a Monday, you will find the lanky, charming Audi engaging his men and officers in a simple, down-to-earth interactive session. The junior officers are allowed to speak freely, unhindered, and face-to-face with the man who is the most superior officer in the agency. They are permitted to pour out their minds about the challenges and successes they experience in their work spaces. The warm and intelligent CG also uses the opportunity to muster his officers to excellent performance at the Muster Parade. This initiative is almost unheard in other agencies, government institutions, and business circles.
This is a revolutionary concept produced only by effective leaders. CG Abubakar Audi is the first CG of NSCDC to organize interface between him and junior officers. When there are open lines of communication between the leader and the led, there will likely be more productivity and effectiveness. It is easy to attend to issues before they become a monster. And true, this is what the regular Monday meetings have afforded NSCDC. It is evident that it has become a stronger and better formation. CG Audi is mustering his team to excellent performance.
This is simply because the man at the helms hears directly, skips bottlenecks, and is able to implement far-reaching changes. He probably had learned this important leadership value as he grew through the ranks since his enlistment in 1996 till date. Abubakar Audi joined the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) as a volunteer. He was deployed to serve as a Divisional Officer in Obi LGA after his basic officer’s training in 1997. He also served as Divisional Officer in Lafia Division from 1998 – 2000. He was redeployed to Nasarawa State Command in July 2000 and served as acting Head of Operations. In May 2001, he was made the Head of Intelligence department in the same state headquarters. He kept climbing the ladder in the over 25-years of service.
BUILDING INTER-AGENCY SYNERGY AND PUBLIC TRUST
A defining mark of the administration of the Laminga-born security professional is his drive to see collaboration among various security agencies in Nigeria. This is expected to help the country manage the multifarious challenges affecting internal security. He recently visited the Chairman/CEO of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Brig Gen Mohammed Buba Marwa (retd) so that they can strengthen existing partnership in the fight against drug abuse and trafficking. He paid another familiarization visit to the Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Farouk Yahaya at the Army Headquarters in order to collectively defeat the menace of insurgency banditry among others while also soliciting their training. Last year he had paid a courtesy visit to the Inspector General of Police IGP Usman Alkali Baba.
He also encourages his commandants at the state level to ensure that they maintain inter-agency collaboration and synergy in their operations. They arrest suspects and hand them over to appropriate quarters. NAOSNP members led by the National President, Comrade Oki Samson witnessed this in Lagos recently when the Commandant of NSCDC Lagos State Command, Commandant Eweka Douglas Okoro handed over some Ghanaian nationals and their accomplices to National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). They had been arrested by the NSCDC Marine Unit for allegedly conveying stacks of cannabis into Nigeria through the waterways. It is important to point out that the Marine Unit was revamped by CG Audi and supported with about 14 more boats.
CG Audi and his men also engender public trust in their dealings. Many times you will find them helping people through disasters. While the EndSARS saga and its attendant issues in Lagos persisted, it was only the NSCDC that maintained a level of sanity. The other security agencies have deserted the road due to the heavy backlash. Citizens were very happy to see them. In fact some youths were seen handing bottles of water to NSCDC officials in the Lekki Toll Gate protests.
When the attention of the world was drawn to the nefarious activities of security agents in Rivers state by the Governor Nyesom Wike, the Commandant-General Dr Audi swiftly stepped in by disbanding the accused anti-vandal unit while also, replacing the Commandant in the Rivers State Command. This major decision happened the same day that the Gov Wike accused his men and officers. This is to show that he has listening ears, does not condone nonsense and is open to criticisms. This incident has built the confidence of the Riverian public and by extension, Nigerians that there actually exists an organization that obeys the people. This is another positive for the process of trust building that CG Audi has embarked on in his first year at the top job.
THE 16-MAN NSCDC CURRICULUM COMMITTEE
Launched by the Honorable Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the NSCDC 16-man committee to develop standard curriculum for training colleges was a brainchild of CG Audi to ensure that the paramilitary organization has a standard curriculum through which all its men and officers will forthwith be trained. The members of the committee are made up of seasoned professionals drawn from the academia, military, police, paramilitary services, and other professionals. The curriculum is expected to be world standard and conform with best practices in training of Civil Defence officers.
Audi, who is well versed having attended several courses, also vowed to develop the Civil Defence colleges to a notable and enviable standard by improving on the physical structures and upgrading the facilities.
THE NATIONAL FEMALE SQUAD AND THE SAFE SCHOOLS INITIATIVE
Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the unparalleled leadership of CG Ahmed Abubakar Audi in this first one year is the establishment of the National Female Squad which was established to champion the Safe Schools Initiative. The Safe Schools Initiative was launched to combat the incessant cases of kidnapping and attack of schools across Nigeria. This had exposed many school children to challenges of insecurity with some of them dying, some maltreated, and others battered and raped. Huge ransoms have been paid by parents, communities and non-government organizations to get many children released from kidnappers den.
The Commandant General would not watch this continue. This is why he founded the National Female Squad to champion this phenomenal initiative. The squad has enjoyed immediate sensation and success in a short while as many state governments have requested that the special unit be established in their states. When the Unit National Commander, CSC Imonikhe Oluwakemi visited the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi some weeks ago, they were received with prompt approval. She requested that the traditional institutions play their custodian role in social engineering, security sensitization of the populace, love for country, and upholding of good moral values. This, she hopes, will serve as a reminder on the ills of criminality and gains of new national orientation and patriotism.
MORE YEARS OF SUCCESS
It is obvious that the CG of NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi mni, hit the ground running, NAOSNP can attest, looking at all the aforementioned which were attained in just 1 year. He has redefined Civil Defence in Nigeria and greatly complimenting one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s three points agenda, improving security in Nigeria. He has really changed the course that the paramilitary organization was previously towing. He has pushed forth a good cause why naysayers and those who are calling for the scrapping of the agency to hush their voices. This agency, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), will do better and greater under this new breed of leadership. CG Audi is set on the forward trajectory, NSCDC will surely go upward!