The House committee on Police Affairs in the Federal House of Representative has successfully conducted a public hearing on a bill to establish the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN), as a security arm of the federal Government of Nigeria, Friday.
Speaking differently during the public hearing, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, The Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Mr. Abdullahi Mohammed and other stakeholders, expressed support for the recognition of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN), which according to them, has a strong presence at the grassroots levels, and would complement the efforts of security agencies in securing lives and property in the country.
Buratai who was represented by the col. S. Nicodemus from the Nigerian Army Headquarters said, security cannot be left to security agencies alone to handle, noting that there would be need for additional training for the personnel of the VGN to be more effective in community policing.
He said VGN has played pivotal role which leads to the successful tearing of the Boko Haram sect by the Nigerian Army, adding that legislation for the group is necessary.
On his part, the Commandant General, NSCDC, Mr. Abdullahi Mohammed said, the bill being considered by the National Assembly was due to the determination and doggedness of the initiative of the VGN. He urged that the provision be thoroughly vetted to ensuring its functions override cultural and ethnic biases.
According to the National Commandant, War Against Indiscipline (WAI), Mr. Mohammed Mustapha, the Vigilante Group of Nigeria is already present in almost every community in Nigeria, and has been discharging voluntary activities.
Addressing journalists at the Ibom International Airport on his arrival to the state, last weekend, the state commander, Vigilante Group of Nigeria Akwa Ibom state, Commander Joshua Dickson thanked God for the quick passage of the bill and subsequent public hearing. He said, he is confident that the bill will passed into law and the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will not delay in giving accent to it.
Commander Dickson disclosed that officials of the VGN across the country will be trained by the Nigerian Army at Abuja in January, to know the rudiments of their job. He lauded the established security agencies for recognizing the contributions of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria, and promised a total eradication of cultism and other criminal activities in Akwa Ibom communities.
The VGN state commander however, called on interested persons to join the Group before President Mohammadu Buhari gives accent to the bill, as it will be difficult for anyone to join after the establishment. He thanked men and officers of the VGN in the state for their steadfastness and for conducting themselves in a peaceful manner, adding that the real work of the Group will soon be unveiled.
Meanwhile, the core mandate of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria as contained in the bill will be to provide community policing, maintain law and order and community service for Nigerians and Related matters.