Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin-Kebbi
With nothing but a set of locally made tools and weapons, local hunters are gradually emerging as dependable sources of security in various communities in Kebbi State. These hunters, numbering over 10,000, are spread across the 21 local government areas, are associated with a number of achievements in the fight against different forms of criminalities.
In recent times for instance, they have done well in the border towns and communities connected to Sokoto, Zamfara and Kaduna states. Working in concert with the Directorate of State Security, they have become a reliable source of implementable intelligence.
These made government to recognise the need to accommodate and motivate them. The state Commandant of the Vigilance Group of Nigeria (VGN), Sanusi Ibrahim Gazah, told Daily Sun: “When kidnappers, bandits and cattle rustlers began to infiltrate the state, government and security agencies invited us for a meeting and notified us that the criminals were very mobile, with their motorcycles and sophisticated weapons.
“They asked us what we would need to facilitate our collaboration with other security agencies. We outlined our needs and relayed our observations about the operations of criminals in our midst. Immediately, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu bought patrol vehicles and many motorcycles and handed them over to us. In some local government areas, where they don’t have enough policemen, our members were mobilised and deployed to patrol the areas.”
Gazah is a retired Sergeant in the Nigerian Army, continued: “We are very effective and the government and security agencies have recognised us and are working with us to sustain peace in the state. At all levels, government would integrate us with the Nigeria Police so as to straighten the security of the country.
«This is the part of the motivation. Initially, we were rendering these services to ourselves, to our people and to our communities. But now the state government is giving us incentives. The police and the DSS are working with us we are fully ready to discharge our service to the people.
“Don’t forget that we are the oldest security agency in these communities. We know our villages, forests and its paths. The terrain in all our state is well known to us. We are doing this willingly before, but now that we are being motivated, we shall do more.”
Gazah, who identified a few local government areas such as Jega, Maiyama, Zuru and Dankowasagu as challenged, noted that their members have been deployed to these places and were currently patrolling the areas with light weapons in a bid to repel attacks from suspected bandits from Zamfara and Sokoto states.
In recognising their contributions, government recently supported them with motorcycles in Bena village of Zuru Local Government. The Deputy Governor, Colonel Samaila Yombe Dabai (rtd), assured them of support in the fight against crimes.
He admitted said the “administration is committed to ensuring that the crime rate within and outside the state is reduced considerably,” advising the general public to play a role in the fight against insecurity. He tasked the vigilance groups to report any suspicious activities or movements of unidentified persons to the nearest security agencies in their area.
The District Head of Bena, Alh Kabiru Ibrahim, appreciated government for its rapid response to the security issues. He urged the people to continue to keep on giving their maximum cooperation and support to all tiers of government.