From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The Chairman of Anambra North Vigilante Group (AVG) in Anambra State, Chief Chinenye Ihenko (Okpompi), has thrown his support and the need to establish community policing in Nigeria especially in Anambra State.
He said community policing has become neccesary due to security challenges being experienced across Nigeria, saying that Anambra State has an organised security system of vigilantes from villages, communities to local government levels.
He said that vigilante groups have been collaborating with the security agencies in the state to combat crime across the state, adding that successes recorded so far were in conjunction with police and other security operatives in the state.
Ihenko who spoke with Daily Sun in Onitsha, said: ‘I support community policing, it’s the best because we know the grass root and all the nooks and crannies of the villages. I know that state police is good but community policing is the best and suitable for the country presently.
‘For instance in Anambra State, we have an organised security system where the vigilante groups operates from villages, communities and local government areas. It will be easier to operate community policing here because the solid foundation had been laid already. We have been collaborating with the police and other security agencies to tame the criminals in the state.’
Speaking on the achievements of the vigilante group in the state, Ihenko said: ‘We are assisting police to do their job as law enforcement agency. We have achieved a lot but through the police because whenever we suspect any criminal tendency we have to contact police to carry out the operation or a times we move together to arrest the suspects because we know the terrain better than the police.
‘So, police will tell you better how we have been assisting them in combatting crimes and criminalities in various places. We are trying to complement the efforts of police and other security agents, we are not working alone to combat crime in the state.’
He said that the vigilante groups in the state were capable of providing local security. ‘This is because we have networks in all the villages and communities, in short we are grass root security guards who ensure that our state remains a crime free as championed by the state governor Chief Willie Obiano to ensure that the state is safe for people to live freely.
‘I can tell you authoritatively that Anambra remains the most crime free state in Southeast zone. We don’t blow our trumpet but you know we are doing security job, it’s an intangible things we do. The police and other security agents knows how we collaborate to achieve successes we had recorded in the past and what we are doing presently which is to ensure that Anambra is safe for living.
‘In the South-East zone geopolitical zone, Anambra is the most or safest state with minimal cases of crimes in the whole Southeast. It is importance we attached to our duty that the governor appointed a former commissioner of police to be supervising Anambra Vigilante Group (AVG) in the person of Chief Ikechukwu Aduba a retired police commissioner. He has been coordinating us well to do our job.’
On the secret of combating crime in the state, he said: ‘This is because we have a governor that is determined to arrest the situation, who have a listening hears as it concerned security and who is ready to sacrifice anything to ensure that lives and property are being secured in the state.
‘The governor provided gadgets and equipment for the security agencies in the state. He mobilised us and as a grass root vigilante, we knows the nooks and cranny of the places and their hideouts and we gave them hard chase and flushed them out of the state.
‘We only hear about armed robbery and kidnapping now unlike before they will block the road in broad day light to operate and kidnap politicians and business men. This is because we have an action governor who is determined to sanitise the state and he has done that and everybody is happy and can sleep with their two eyes closed.’
He said in the cause of doing the job he encountered some problems in the field as a civilian. ‘I know that I have worked since 1998 as the security leader and I want God to catapult me to the next level. My job in this state is not commensurate with my position, that is the truth. I have worked with so many Commissioners of Police, some rose to become AIG and DIG of police. I thank God,’ Ihenko stated.