The recent suggestion by the representative of the Inspector General of Police (DIG), Mr. Ben Okoro, to merge the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) with the Police for better policing effectiveness, as stated at the National Dialogue on State Policing organized by the House of Representatives on Monday, 22nd April 2024 in Abuja, is viewed as a narrow perspective on global security that fails to recognize NSCDC as a distinct security organization. NSCDC has not only evolved into an essential force but also emerged as a member of international security organizations such as the International Civil Defence Organization, which has 60 member states, 16 observer states, and 23 affiliated members, with headquarters in Switzerland.

NSCDC did not evolve independently but emerged to function autonomously and complement other security agencies locally and internationally, as is the case in other member states. Its global mandates are enshrined in the NSCDC Act of 2003 and its amended Act of 2007 in Nigeria.

Globally, the responsibility of information gathering and policing is not vested in a single security agency. For example, in the USA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), formed in 2002, consolidated 22 federal departments and agencies to defend against threats. Similarly, in Russia, the UK, and other nations, Civil Defence has evolved as a system of measures and security organization to protect people and assets during hostilities, disasters, or technological disasters.

In Ukraine, Civil Defence has been crucial to its survival since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, working in collaboration with other security agencies. Joint efforts between security agencies in intelligence gathering, analysis, investigations, and policy development are evident in these countries to address national security threats.

It is concerning that some advocate for a single agency to handle all security-related matters in Nigeria, ignoring the diverse expertise, intelligence, and resources each agency offers. The legislative provision for the NSCDC Act is commendable, as it conforms to global standards and is clear in its mandate.

The effectiveness of the Police in Nigeria should not depend on merging with other organizations, as each agency has its unique mandate. The Police should understand its limits and seek guidance from the National Assembly for future security activities.

As a nation, until we recognize and leverage the unique expertise and resources each security agency offers, as seen in developed countries, we will not effectively address security threats but treat security as a mere child’s play, endangering lives and properties.

Interagency collaboration, as emphasized by L. Douglas School of Government and Public Affairs, is crucial for addressing national security threats and building trust in government institutions. NSCDC has earned trust by defending the defenseless within the law, contributing to economic and community security, and promoting peace and conflict resolution.

Those advocating for the merger of NSCDC should understand the importance of diversity in security organizations, akin to how trees form a forest, as explained by Peter Wohlleben. NSCDC, with its well-structured security framework, is striving for trust, efficiency, and recognition nationally and globally, and merging it would be counterproductive to achieving these goals.

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