Chairman of the Nigeria Police Service Commission, Solomon Arase, has attributed the inability of the police and other security agencies to dominate security space to lack of numerical strength.
Arase in an interview with journalists in Abuja yesterday during the Vigilante Group of Nigeria national conference with the theme: “Mobilising VGN Members for Improved Security in Schools, Farmlands and Roads” with about 50,000 members in attendance, highlighted the importance of harnessing the support of volunteers such as VGN who have stepped forward to assist in maintaining security.
The former inspector-general of police (IGP) stressed the necessity of developing a comprehensive plan to collaborate with these volunteers effectively.
“Security is everyone’s business, including journalists and others,” Arase remarked, noting that since these individuals are volunteering their services, it is essential to integrate them into the community policing system.
“When criminals want to commit a crime they will go on surveillance and if you see the vigilante, either in 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,” he said.
Arase concluded by underlining the need to harness the numeric strength, geographical reach, and leadership potential of these volunteers to address pressing issues of insecurity in Nigeria.
Speaking earlier, the commander-general of VGN, Navy Commander Umar Bakori (retd.), called for the passage of the bill establishing the group.
He said the group was committed to mobilising 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.”
According to Bakori, recent events have shown that schools have become vulnerable targets for criminal activities, 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.”