SAM EGWU, in this report enumerates measures being put in place by the Kogi state government to ensure a safe and secured state by chasing criminals out of the state.
Like never before in the history of maintaining peace and security of Kogi state, efforts by the incumbent governor of the state, Alh Yahaya Bello at curtailing insecurity in the state has endeared him to the people of the state.
Before Governor Bello assumed office in 2016, the state was declared a no go area as kidnapping, highway armed robbery and general insecurity of lives and properties were the order of the day.
Reports of kidnapping, killing, robbery, cult clashes and even rape were common in the state before Bello assumed the mantle of leadership as the governor of the state. And with his coming, he wasted no time in setting an agenda to secure lives and properties of the citizenry and those who pass through the state on a daily basis to eke a living.
On Saturday November 10, 2018, history was made when Governor Bello commissioned 3000 vigilante personnel at the confluence stadium along Hassan Katsina way, opposite zone 8 headquarters in Lokoja, the state capital.
The inauguration of the 3000 vigilante group was a fulfilment of the avowed statue of the state government to make Kogi Safe for travelers and secure for investors as security is the first condition for development and growth of a city.
The vigilantes were recruited and trained at various locations in the three senatorial districts: Idah, Okene and Kabba. Police authority insists that the current security challenges, cannot be curtailed except the communities are ready to cooperate with the police because the criminals are not spirits : they are with us in the banks, restaurants, they are our neighbours, they are in the market, it’s the responsibility of all Nigerians to rise and protect this country.
Quoting police authority further, “The vigilante group cannot operate in isolation without being attached to the police otherwise they will misuse the power. They have no right to carry guns or any weapon as their case is to maintain peace and security. It’s an offence for any vigilante personnel or groups to carry arms without a police man around.
That’s why while commissioning the guards at the passing out parade, Bello enjoined them to abhor any act that could tarnish the reputation and render the state government’s investment on them a waste, reiterating that the state government has zero tolerance for insecurity, illegality and corruption and would not spare any member of the group who is found wanting.
Bello said “My administration values the security and safety of the citizens. We have spent huge amount of money and time on your training. You have been taught perseverance, discipline, community policing and patience that would sustain our efforts in the area of security.”
Observers say that while the police have the statutory role to protect lives and property, it becomes bothersome when such security agents are being put under the surveillance of other security agencies and analysed that because of some sundry uniforms now in vogue, police duty is threatened as citizens may be forced to defend themselves.
A security consultant who spoke to LEADERSHIP Sunday put it clearly that self preservation is the first law of nature, hence individuals should learn to protect themselves before going to report to the police.
The consultant, Paul Ekanden stated that if the police are properly equipped with working materials and enough moral booster and logistics they will work effectively.
“All what the country needs to do at this material time is to reposition the police, give proper equipment to confront the spate of insecurity in the country without paying lip service and making mere policy statement, insecurity in the land is real,” he added.
Sharing similar sentiments, retired Col John Ajala, a former member of National Guard called for more support for operatives of the country security agencies.
He said this would help the agencies to effectively combat crimes and criminality.
From the foregoing, it’s clear that there is no hiding place for criminals in the state as Governor Bello has said that all hands are on the deck to see that the code under section 4 of 1999 constitution (as amended) to constitute vigilante groups to compliment the efforts of the police on security is kept in faith.