Before the exit of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the role played by the Vigilante Group of Nigeria, VGN, in the fight against Boko Haram in the North-East of the country, was evident.
While in the United States of America, USA, on a 4 day working visit, a US official told President Muhammadu Buhari that the fight against Boko Haram cannot be left in the hands of the military alone, but on concerted effort with the locals.
Immediate past Inspector General of Police, IGP Solomon Arase had in an event in one of the Northern states, stressed on the need to actively involve or integrate the local Vigilante outfit in the fight against the menace of insurgency in the country.
Although the VGN is still struggling to be integrated as a grassroots security out-fit across the country by the federal government. Yet, some states have already adjudged the group worthy, by using and providing it with the necessary apparatus, to enhance its performance in the fight against insecurity.
In Rivers State, the VGN which cut across the 23 Local Government Areas of the state with over eight thousand (8,000) trained men and women of the state, with visible secretariat and officials that are rooted in all nooks and crannies of the state, is yet to be recognized by the government of Rivers State.
The exploits of the Vigilante group are quite evident in many areas. Such as the incidences of arrests of sea pirates and oil bunkerers, checkmating of the activities of cultists, kidnappers and rescuing of abandoned newly born babies. Most of them often arrested and handed over to the law enforcement agencies have been widely reported both in the electronic and print media.
Yet, it is unbelievable that the state government from time past has never deemed it necessary to accord any form of commendation or recognition to the Vigilante service.
Looking at the prevalent security challenges, the road congestions, and determined vigor of the state governor Chief Barr. Ezenwo, Nyesom Wike to tackle the problems head-on. It would not be out of place, if the attention of Governor Wike is drawn to the tremendous activities of a formidable state Vigilante group. To see how it could fit-in, in solving some of the security challenges and other social vices that are still staring at the state.
It may be surprising to state that the many strides of Rivers VGN from inception were achieved through self determination and free from gratification of any kind or required tools. Still, the Command is ever ready to do more by ensuring that Rivers people go to bed and sleep with their eyes closed.
What the group requires at the moment is the political will from the state government, to continue to do what it knows how to do best. Having gone through several security trainings in collaboration with the Nigeria Police and other security out-fits across the country.
In line with Wike’s decision and determination to alleviate the sufferings of Rivers people. Men and officers of VGN, Rivers Command are expectant that they will not be left behind in the governor’s blueprint of empowering and providing the needed infrastructure for the state and its residents.
I am optimistic that the integration of VGN in the fight against insecurity and other vices in the state, with an already existing synergy with police, JTF and other security agencies across LGAs of the state, will help to reposition the “Garden City” of the nation, for the good of all and sundry.
Once a mandate is given to the Vigilante group by Rivers government, residents should be rest assured that the slogan of the VGN, which says “SAY NO TO CRIME”, will remain a reality that they can see and feel!