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Police need vigilante to combat criminality – Ex-IGP Arase


From Okwe Obi, Abuja


Chairman of the Police Service Commission Dr Solomon Arase has advocated partnership between the police and the Vigilance Group of Nigeria (VGN) in order to fight crime.

Arase spoke at the National Vigilante Conference 2023 titled: ‘Mobilising Vigilante Group of Nigeria Members for Improved Security in Schools, Farmlands and Roads,’ yesterday in Abuja and stressed the importance of incorporating the activities of Vigilance Group of Nigeria, (VGN) with that of the Police Force.


The former Inspector General of Police noted that no country can overcome social disorders without the help of those at the grassroots.


He also hinted at the need for the police force to host a joint workshop with VGN for better community policing.


“All the security agencies put together if you consider the land mass of Nigeria, no security force will be able to dominate the security space, none.

“When you are talking about security, there are two things that come to mind of countries that have been able to deal with issues of banditry and terrorism, The first is the dominance of the security space.

“Number two is visibility.


“How visible are the security agents, how can they cover the land space in this country? This conference has given us the opportunity to start the conversation of how we can incorporate the VGN into the security architecture of Nigeria.


“As the IGP in 2015, I convoked a security summit in which former President Muhammadu Buhari was a member, he was the special guest of honour, and he came to deliver the lead paper.

“The argument at that time, was since we don’t have the numeric strength to dominate the security space, what do we do? The answer was, that you rely on non-state actors. And the vigilantes are one of the very necessary non-state actors that we require.


“The big question is, who understands the socio-economic environment in which they are policing more, it is the people who are domiciled in those areas.


“Those are the best people that can police the country and since the vigilantes draw strength from across the 36 states of the federation, all we have to do is to say can we have a conversation with the security agencies, especially the police, to incorporate you into you their community policing policy.

“The danger of not incorporating the vigilantes is that they must be compensated, even though they are patriotic enough to secure their communities without pay.

“We should be able to appeal to patriotic Nigerians to see how they can be able to key into this your initiative, to see how we can encourage the Vigilante Group of Nigeria, even if it is to buy, whistles, bikes, shirts for them or any other incentives.

“What we have to do is that since the Police Act of 2020 has already said community policing should be encouraged from the local government, state and national level, we need to see how we can incorporate the activities of the vigilantes because they have the numeric strength.


“After this, I will meet with the IGP to see how we can have a joint workshop with the Police and the VGN because then we will now be able to demarcate our boundaries, know what and what not we are supposed to do and collaborate.


“There is no country that has been able to deal with social disorder without having the requisite information that is possessed into intelligence. So, it is important we collaborate with the vigilantes,” he said.


VGN Commandant General, Umar Bakori, explained that the conference was organised to enhance security in the country.

The former Navy Captain said: “This conference marks a significant moment in our mission to enhance security in our beloved nation.


“Our focus today lies in mobilizing our members to safeguard schools, farmlands, and roads – vital spaces that demand our utmost attention.


“With our strength of over a million members nationwide and all operating in our localities can play a crucial role in safeguarding these vital areas.


“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.

“As an agricultural nation, the productivity of our farmlands directly impacts our economy and food security. Our farmers, who toil day and night to feed the nation, face numerous challenges such as theft, destruction of crops, and attacks from bandits.


“By mobilizing our vigilant members, we can provide a protective shield around our farmlands, ensuring that our farmers can work without fear and that Nigeria’s agricultural potential can be fully realized.”

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