By OTUNBA JAMES UDOMA, Lagos State VGN COMMANDANT
When will the mass murder of Nigerians in Benue and the other states stop? When will the killers of these innocent Nigerians be apprehended and prosecuted?
When will the presidency and the Senate sign the bill of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN) which was passed last year into law?
When will the rulers of Nigeria know that our current policing system has failed and cannot protect lives and property in this geo-political space called Nigeria.
What Nigeria needs is a strong intelligence-led community policing as enshrined in the Bill called an Act to commission Vigilante Group of Nigeria.
Policing needs to be devolved and approached from a multi-level angle; that is a community policing organisation and a federal police.
When the Cigilante Group of Nigeria that’s present in the 774 local government areas and the 36 states of the federation, plus the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja is fully brought to function, along with the Nigeria Police Force, then the nation’s internal security will be enhanced and most of this killings currently ravaging the country will be brought under control.
If the Vigilante Group of Nigeria’s members in each community are well trained, equipped and motivated, they will form the first line of defence in our rural communities. The situation where a group of marauders under any name will come into a community and kill as they like and get away will be reduced as they will meet with resistance that will deter them.
Also, as the first respondents to any crime within the community, the VGN officers will be able to give adequate information and also gather intelligence information that will be passed to the relevant security Agency for appropriate actions.
Since the Vigilante Group of Nigeria officers live within the communities, it is easier for them to identify strange faces and odd movements thereby utilising intelligence-led community policing that is proactive to curb crimes, instead of the reactive and reactionary policing system that we are using now, a situation where after the crime had been committed, that is when our police will get to the scene of crime and start asking, where did they go and how many were they?
A synergy between the VGN and the Nigeria Police and other security agencies will produce a more efficient crime reduction panacea.
A situation where the country uses her military in carrying out internal security duties under a democratic government does not portend something positive for Nigeria.
Tthe policing and internal security architecture of Nigeria has to be reworked. Some years ago, our revered royal father, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, said that the security architecture of the country has to be reworked.
There is no other time than now. So, we urge the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to quickly sign the VGN bill and the president should seize the moment in passing the bill, once it gets to his table, as this bill has the potential of curbing the incessant killings of Nigerians and in assisting in the final defeat of the dreaded Boko Haram group.
As it is on record that the vigilantes under the name of Civilian Joint Task Force has assisted in no small measure in reducing the lethal nature of the Boko Haram insurgent group in the North East.