The Police in Ebonyi says it is training vigilante groups in communities on modern security operations for improved efficiency. Mr John Ottu, Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of NIGERCEM Police Station, made this known on Wednesday during an orientation course for vigilante groups in the area.
Several vigilante groups have been formed in the area since the continued vandalism of the defunct Nigerian Cement Company (NIGERCEM), Nkalagu, facilities and other strategic communication installations in the area.
The development led to increased threat to lives and property of residents of the area, as the efforts of various security agencies could not stem the tide. According to him, the training is aimed at making the vigilante groups more effective, especially in areas of crime detection and overall security vigilance.
“This orientation course is to educate the groups on modern detective measures and systems, especially in emergency situations to safeguard lives and property of citizens.
“This is important because immediate confrontation of security challenges would salvage serious situations before the groups alert the police and other security agencies.
“The groups would also be educated on the need to desist from aiding and abetting crimes, as the public accuse the group members of complicity in various crimes.” He urged them to be conversant with the environment they operate in and conduct regular surveillance of the communities, in collaboration with relevant security agencies.
“I urge you to be focused and alert to your responsibilities, to give credence to your activities and elicit public acceptance,” he said. The Chairman of the NIGERCEM/ Over Rail Vigilante Group, said that the training would equip them to confront security challenges in the area with modern techniques.
“We conduct a similar monthly re-training exercise for members to enhance our performance, as we have been receiving adequate cooperation from the public. “We are aggressively confronting hoodlums and their agents, as the rate of vandalism of electricity, industrial and related installations have drastically reduced in the area,” he said.
Mr Moses Onele, the Chairman of Umuhuali Vigilante Group, said the group was confronting the outlawed `Odogbu’ group which, he noted, had been terrorising residents of the area. “We appeal to the government and the private sector to assist us with funds, equipment and facilities such as motorcycles, to enhance our regular patrols in the communities.
“We wish to commend the security agencies in the areas, traditional institution and other stakeholders for their support. “I also enjoin the people to always provide relevant information to the groups and other security agencies,” he said.
The vigilante groups which attended the course included Onunwankwo, Azuogbuagu, NIGERCEM/ Overall, Umuhuali, among other vigilante groups. Highlights of the occasion were parade and inspection of guard of honour of the vigilante groups, alongside patrols to several communities in the area.