Thursday, 7th December 2023

Arase advocates incorporation of Vigilantes in Nigeria’s security architecture

By Joseph Chibueze, Abuja
13 September 2023   |   12:12 pm
The chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Dr. Solomon Arase, has called for the incorporation of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN) into the nation’s security architecture.

The chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Dr. Solomon Arase, has called for the incorporation of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN) into the nation’s security architecture.

Arise, who is a former Inspector-General of Police, was speaking on Tuesday at the National Vigilante Conference 2023 organised by the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN) in Abuja, said any nation serious about ensuring the security of its people must have a way of involving non-state actors like the VGN, adding that if the security agencies can collaborate with the vigilantes, the issue of insecurity would be dealt with.

According to him, “Since the police does not have the numbers to dominate the security space, we rely on non-state actors and VGN is one of the veritable source of non-state actors.

“The vigilantes are members of the community, they understand the environment better and therefore are the best people to police the community.”

Arase said since the police Act of 2020 says community policing should be encouraged from the local government level to the state level to the national level, “we can now begin to see how we can incorporate your activities because you have the numerical strengthen.

“But one thing I want to beg you is, whatever you are doing in your local communities, don’t forget to carry the divisional police officers along, make sure you carry the area commanders along and make sure you carry the commissioners of Police along.”

He commended their sacrifice and promised that there has to be a way to compensate them for the good work they are doing.

Earlier in his speech, the National Chairman/Commander General of VGN, Navy Captain Umar Bakori said the theme of the conference which is mobilizing VGN members for improved security in schools, farmlands and roads, is very apt given the importance of these areas in the economic life of the country.

He said with a membership strength of over a million members nationwide and all operating in localities, vigilantes can play a crucial role in safeguarding these vital areas.

In his words, “The security of our schools is of paramount importance. Educational institutions serve as the foundation of our nation’s future, nurturing the minds and talents that will shape a prosperous Nigeria. Unfortunately, recent events have shown that schools have become vulnerable targets for criminal activities, endangering the lives and education of our children. It is our duty as vigilant citizens to create a safe and conducive environment for learning, where students can thrive without fear.”

He said that mobilizing vigilante members will help create a strong presence of security and deter potential threats, thus fostering an environment conducive to economic growth and social harmony.

Bakori said VGN will continue to collaborate and strengthen its ties with law enforcement agencies, educational institutions, farmers’ associations, and transport unions to enable it achieve its set objectives.

“By fostering partnerships, sharing information, and conducting joint operations, we can amplify our impact and create a united front against criminal elements,” he said.

“This conference on mobilizing members of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria for improved security in schools, farmlands, and roads signifies our commitment to safeguarding the well-being of our nation. By focusing on these critical areas, we aim to create an environment where education flourishes, agriculture thrives, and citizens can travel with peace of mind. Together, let us harness the power of vigilance, unity, and collaboration to forge a safer and more prosperous Nigeria for generations to come.”

He called on the President to sign the Vigilante Group of Nigeria Bill that is before him to give the group more legal backing to operate and support the security agencies.

The event was attended by representatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), among other agencies.

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