From Gyang Bere, Jos
It’s obvious that the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN) has contributed immensely in responding to the disturbing security challenges, ranging from kidnapping to terrorism, banditry and criminality that is fast dividing the country.
Most of the vigilante members in Plateau State work in collaboration with the Nigeria Police in policing various communities in the state without any form of renumeration or incentives. Members of the group go after kidnappers and bandits in their communities using sticks, cutlasses, bows and arrows, without considering the sophisticated weapons in the hands of the bandits.
The VGN and members of the community policing units have rescued many victims from the den of kidnappers in Plateau and aided the arrest of many criminal elements in various communities in the state.
It was gathered that the Vigilante Group has put in more effort in fishing out cultists that are terrorizing and causing hardship to residents of Jos-Bukuru metropolis, thereby reducing violent attacks in the state.
During and after the COVID-19 lockdown, Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong acknowledged the critical security role played by the Vigilante Group and members of the Community Police in securing the state from criminal elements. They were visible at every checkpoint within and outside the metropolis and helped in arresting criminals and handed them over to law enforcement agencies for prosecution.
Sadly, this role was not played without paying the supreme price as bandits, in 2020, ambushed and killed three VGN members in the state during an operation in Vwang District of Jos South LGA of the state.
Similarly, three vigilante were shot death in Dong community in Jos North LGA, apart from many who have perished during midnight attacks trying to save their communities from being raided by bandits.
However, the chairman of Langtang North LGA, Hon. Ubandoma Joshua Laven, who was not happy about the challenges facing the vigilance group members in the effort to secure their communities at the expense of their lives, has waded in to assist the group. His support to the group, who put their lives on the line to secure life and property without weapons and any incentives, has sustained members of the vigilance group to do their work.
He acknowledged that most of them have been killed by criminals who wield sophisticated weapons against them. It was on this account that the group decided to appoint and decorate Laven as their patron in Plateau State for his support and commitment towards their welfare and security of life and property in general.
Laven averred that, if the Vigilante Group and members of the community police are placed on incentives by the Federal Government and grant them license to bear light weapons, the security challenges in the country would reduced drastically.
He noted that criminals were coming from communities known by the vigilante and, if they are motivated, they would be able to match these elements and trace them even to their hideout.
Laven appealed to Federal Government to provide incentives and light weapons for VCN to fight kidnapping and banditry in the country. He expressed confidence in the tireless efforts being put in place by the VGN to curb criminality and kidnapping in the country.
The group decided to appoint and decorated Laven as their state patron in view of his passion to enroll the vigilante into the security architecture in the country to fight insecurity.
The council chairman also called for adequate support for all other volunteer security outfits to rid society of criminal elements.
“They cannot go after kidnappers and bandits with bare hands, as doing so will endanger their lives in the line of duty, Federal Government should permit the Vigilante Group to carry light weapons so that they can effectively police their environment.
“Apart from the light weapons, government should also give the vigilante group incentives so as to boost their morale. If people can render selfless service to the point of laying their lives on the line for the security of the country, I think they deserve more from government.
“The vigilante have the capacity, manpower to effectively police our communities, some of them have laid down their lives at no cost, so, if they are motivated, I believe we will get absolute results in the fight against insecurity in Nigeria.”
Hon. Laven said the Police and other security agencies have always commended the effort of the Vigilante Group in the fight against insecurity and vowed to push and support them in the realization of their dreams of having a crime free society.
He added, ” I make bold to say that the vigilante group are more closer to the communities and if properly engaged, they can contribute in addressing the overwhelming security challenges bedevilling the Nation.
He advised Nigerians to support the Vigilante in policing their environment to compliment the efforts of other security agencies in the fight against the menance of banditry and kidnapping that has now became a lucrative business in the country.
“We encourage this gallant heroes of ours who have sacrifice their lives for the safety and security of this great nation. If you can even attest to what is going on in Niger state, the bandits had given condition that vigilante should not be seen, allowed to molest them because they have the capacity to go after them.
“Nigeria security challenge, the problem lies within sacrificial people, that’s the Vigilante who are willing, but they just want recognition.”
The Admin Commander of Vigilante Group of Nigeria , Plateau State Command, Abubakar Sadiq said the chairman was chosen from among many others to be their Patron because of his contribution to the growth and development of his immediate community.
He expressed confident that the Chairman will do better than he has done in the past in securing lives and properties and said to whom much is given, more is expected.