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Vigilantes to the rescue

Posted by Sun News Publishing on 2007/06/25 | Views: 356 |

Vigilantes to the rescue

Several attempts by the Anambra State government to establish a credible vigilante service since the administration of Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju to help it and police to fight crime has always met stumbling blocks.

Several attempts by the Anambra State government to establish a credible vigilante service since the administration of Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju to help it and police to fight crime has always met stumbling blocks.

The huge success made when the dreaded Bakassi Boys were introduced in the state, after the efforts of the then Onitsha Traders Association (OTA) Vigilante Group failed, was however, messed up by the actions of some unscrupulous politicians.

At various instances, vigilance groups had been used by the rich in the society to suppress the down-trodden or for personal vendetta.
Severally too, communities have had cause to protest against the activities of the vigilance groups, which arrogated to themselves the power of arrest and prosecution, and in some places become a horror to the people.

The recent development in Okpoko, where the vigilance people went berserk and sacked the entire community, with their dangerous weapons, including rifles and the extrajudicial killings in which some of them indulge in, are issues against the group.
The controversial and questionable murder of Highlife Maestro, Chief Ezeodumegwu (alias King Dogoga) by the vigilance group and other misdemeanors of the group at various areas have made the people suspicious, especially when questionable characters are seen among them.

These led to the intervention of Exotic Security Consultancy Services with the project “Community Policing Project (the public approach to community policing) recently was a welcome development by both the police and members of the public.

The training workshop, which was organised and executed by the security consultancy services, in collaboration with the police for all registered vigilance groups and security operatives was declared open by the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State Police Command, Mr. Oliver Osuchukwu, who gave assurance the willingness of his command to work with the vigilance groups when they work according to rule of law.

The commissioner, who was represented by Chief Superintendent of Police, John Nwele, urged the participants, who were in their hundreds, to take the training seriously as henceforth, no unregistered vigilante groups would be allowed to operate in the state.

Aim of workshop
Speaking to Daily Sun about the workshop, the organizer/security consultant, Mr. Chris Udeze, said it was to prepare the vigilance/security operatives to carry out their function effectively and guide them on how to conduct themselves so as not to work at cross-purpose with the police.
Also, he said it was geared towards preparing the vigilance/security operatives to conduct themselves in a manner that would make them acceptable to the people of their community or market.
Udeze further said that participation in the training workshop should be a prerequisite for qualification to work as vigilance/security operative in the state.

According to him, “the process of registering the vigilance members and units recently introduced was conceived with the view of assisting the police in Anambra State to achieve zero crime level in the state. The exercise, which include the issuance of units and personal information data forms to villages, towns, communities and markets operating vigilance/security services, is geared towards providing a data base for the police for the effective coordination and supervision of vigilance activities within the state and is in line with the law of Anambra State gazette 2000 no. 9, which provides for the establishment of Vigilance Services.

“The exercise, which includes the computerisation of all information collected on the forms, issuances of a uniform, identity cards to vigilance/security operatives, registration certificates to vigilance units and training of the vigilance/security operatives, is conceived and executed by Exotic Security Consultancy Services, under a project tagged community policing project, (the public approach to community policing,” he said.

Papers presented
In the paper, Security Consciousness /Information Gathering while on Beat, CSP Charles Chima provided tips on what may constitute security risk to an area or market. He also prepared the participants to be alert and vigilant in the discharge of their duty. The participants were also availed with information on how to detect people on a negative mission and the appropriate steps to take in such a situation. They were also guided on how to be of useful assistance to the police in the event of the occurrence of a crime by knowing the kind of information and clues to look out for before the arrival of the police to the scene of crime.

The paper “The Role Of The Vigilance/Security Operative In Crime Prevention/Crime Fighting (limitations and responsibility), presented by CSP Felix Kigigha dealt with the primary function of the vigilance operative which is the prevention of the occurrence of crime in area of operation, just as it dealt essentially with the expected role of the vigilance/security operative, which is problem-solving approach to crime prevention and also guide the participants on what is expected of them in the event of the occurrence of a crime.

CSP Francis Bissong, in his paper, The Vigilante and The Law, provided the vigilante/security operatives with skeletal knowledge of the law sufficient to guide them in the discharge of their duties. He also highlighted some sections of the law on vigilance services as contained in gazette 2000 no. 9.
Another paper, Arms handling, presented by SP Festus Irorere taught the participants in the act of arms handling. The danger in providing false information of arms owned by the unit was impressed on the participants. Suffices it to say that one of the cardinal objectives of the registration exercise is to collect accurate information of arms used by vigilantes in Anambra State.

“Qualification/conduct and discipline of vigilance/security operatives,” which was presented by Udeze himself, dealt with the attitude of the vigilance/security operative in relation to the people of his community. It sought to curb the excesses of the vigilance/security operatives.
The Principal consultant/Chief executive officer, Global View Consult, Mr. Iheanacho Patrick, in his paper, “Impact of environmental factors on vigilance personnel and operations”, x-rayed the inherent uniqueness in different areas of operation and the proper approach to be adopted by the vigilance/security operatives.

At the end of the workshop which was attended by over 1500 vigilance members, the participants told Daily Sun that they have been empowered to do a better job of the security work.

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