There are many people with criminal antecedents masquerading as members of staff of various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the federal government, National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd), has said.
Speaking, yesterday, at a one-day workshop on the “Importance of Security Awareness Drills in Contemporary Nigeria”, organised by the Special Services Office (SSO), Office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Dasuki, who was represented by the Director, Policy and Strategy, office of the NSA, Mr. Layiwola Laseinde warned that both government and security agencies could not afford to recruit people with criminal background, saying the MDAs should ensure that they screen out suspicious elements within their ranks.
He explained that the aim of the workshop was to ensure that those who have been selected in each of the agencies for training on security awareness should go back to their various offices and be able to enlighten the people and encourage them to be more security conscious.
The NSA noted that the job of ensuring the security of lives and property is not for the government alone and therefore urged members of the public to be actively involved in fishing out people with questionable characters.
“We want to make sure that people of dubious character are not employed. In some areas, you find out that people have committed crimes and once they have criminal background, they are likely to perpetrate death.
“I am not saying it is in all cases, but majority of the cases, so the government, especially the security agencies, cannot afford to recruit people of dubious character. They want to make sure that each agency does it own in house screening to screen out undesirable people.
“Government cannot afford for agencies to have staff with criminal record and that is the purpose of this workshop that those who are trained can go and train other people and also organise their parastatals and agencies to ensure that in terms of personal record and discipline everything is okay.
“Fighting against security is not for government alone; the public needs to be carried along and in being carried along, awareness of the security situation, awareness of the environment, awareness of the people who are doing things that are suspicious is very important.”
He therefore urged the people to support security agencies in protecting lives and property by reporting people with suspicious character to security agents.
Dasuki also raised the alarm on the activities of some Nigerians whom he accused of working to destabilise the country.
“It is rather unfortunate that there are some unscrupulous Nigerians who are exacerbating and exploiting the (insecurity) situation for their selfish interest. I therefore, use this medium to warn these elements to desist from their unholy acts against the interest of the people and the country,” he stated.
The NSA assured the public that the federal government was doing its best to discharge its constitutional responsibilities by taking measures to tackle terrorism, religious intolerance, armed robbery, kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, piracy, corruption and other related crimes which are impacting negatively on the economy, the nation’s development and its image.
He said the Department of State Services (DSS) had undertaken a robust vulnerability assessment of most of the MDAs in Abuja, followed up by improvement of their access control as a way of protecting their property and staff members.
“The Security Inspection Committee will continue to go round the MDAs to ensure compliance with the security regulations as they affect the safety of government’s personnel, documents and facilities/structure,” he added.