Police Service Commission says vigilante groups would be used in the community policing system because the police and other security agencies lack the numeric strength to dominate the security spaces and fight criminality.
PSC said that as volunteers, it should be able to key them into the community policing system in Nigeria with regards to information gathering, because of their presence and visibility.
PSC Chairman and former Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, stated these in an interview with journalists in Abuja during the national vigilante conference organised by the Vigilante Group of Nigeria with the theme, “Mobilizing VGN members for improved security in schools, farmlands and roads”, with about 50,000 members in attendance.
At the event, the Commander-General of VGN, Navy Commander Umar Bakori (retd.), said the organization was committed to mobilizing its members to safeguard schools, farmlands, roads and vital spaces that demand utmost attention.
He said, “With our strength of over a million members nationwide and all operating in our localities, we can play a crucial role in safeguarding these vital areas. The security of our schools is of paramount importance. Educational institutions serve as the foundation of our nation’s future, nurturing the minds and talents that will shape a prosperous Nigeria.”
Arase highlighted the limitations of the police and other security agencies in their ability to dominate security spaces due to their numeric constraints but emphasized the importance of harnessing the support of volunteers who have stepped forward to assist in maintaining security.
He stressed the necessity of developing a comprehensive plan to collaborate with these volunteers effectively.
Arase said, “The police and other security agencies don’t have the numeric strength to dominate the security space. Now, if we have people who have volunteered, what we have to do is to draw up a plan to collaborate with them.
“Security is everyone’s business including journalists and others. But these people are volunteers, we should be able to key them into the community policing system.
“We will collaborate with them on information gathering which will, in turn, be processed into intelligence and this is because of their presence and visibility which mean so much.
“When criminals want to commit a crime they will go on surveillance and if you see the vigilante, either on the highway or in the community, it is already a deterrent.
“All we have to do is to harness their numeric strength, their spread and leadership to deal with issues of insecurity.”
According to Bakori, recent events have shown that schools have become vulnerable targets for criminal activities, and endangering the lives and education of children.
He said, “It is our duty as vigilant citizens to create a safe and conducive environment for learning, where students can thrive without fear.
“As an agricultural nation, the productivity of our farmlands directly impacts our economy and food security. Our farmers, who toil day and night to feed the nation, face numerous challenges such as theft, destruction of crops, and attacks from bandits. By mobilizing our vigilant members, we can provide a protective shield around our farmlands, ensuring that our farmers can work without fear and that Nigeria’s agricultural potential can be fully realized.
“The safety of our roads is essential for the smooth functioning of our society and the economy. Unfortunately, incidents of armed robberies, kidnappings, and other criminal activities on our highways have become all too common. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that our roads are secure, allowing citizens to travel freely and businesses to thrive.
“Mobilizing our vigilant members will help create a strong presence of security and deter potential threats, thus fostering an environment conducive to economic growth and social harmony.
To achieve our objectives, collaboration and training are crucial. We must strengthen our ties with law enforcement agencies, educational institutions, farmers’ associations, and transport unions. By fostering partnerships, sharing information, and conducting joint operations, we can amplify our impact and create a united front against criminal elements.
“Furthermore, continuous training and capacity-building programs will equip our members with the necessary skills to tackle emerging security challenges effectively.
“By focusing on these critical areas, we aim to create an environment where education flourishes, agriculture thrives, and citizens can travel with peace of mind. Together, let us harness the power of vigilance, unity, and collaboration to forge a safer and more prosperous Nigeria for generations to come.”