The deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase has enjoined members of the vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN) to continue to use only legitimate means in the exercise of their responsibilities and to get legal backing for the activities of the group.
Wase, who gave the advice when the group paid him a courtesy call in his office, commended the group for its selfless services over the years in supporting the overstretched police force and complementing other security agencies.
“My appeal to you is to continue to follow the path of the law until the group is recognized by the law. I am also part of you because I am also a grassroots person.
“Everyone in Nigeria is aware that the number of policemen we have is inadequate, so we appreciate your efforts in supporting the police and complementing the military and civil defence corps”
The deputy speaker applauded the contributions of the VGN for being part of the Civilian Joint Task Force domesticated in North East.
He however, appeal to the group to caution its members not to engage in extra judicial efforts in dealing with members of the public adding that “there are complaints in some areas by some Nigerians being manhandled by your members”
Wase assured that the leadership of the House would interface with the Clerk of the National Assembly to find out why the Vigilante establishment bill was not assented to by the President.
“I will like to meet with the Clerk to the National Assembly to know the state of the bill”, he promised.
The spokesman of the group, Navy Cpt. Umar Bakori (rtd) urged the leadership of the National Assembly to revisit pass bill that seeks to give legal backing to the activities of the group in addressing insecurity in the country.
He informed that the VGN had existed for the past 20 years and are present in the 774 Local Government Areas in the country.
Bakori said that the group is made up of about two million members spread across the country but 17,000 are very active and were trained by the Police and the Army.
He added that the group provides grassroots support for the Police, Customs, Army, Civil Defence, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other security agencies.
Bakori said that the group initiated a bill which was passed by 8th Assembly to give legal backing to the activities of the group but the bill was not assented to by President Mohammadu Buhari.
He his word “When you talk about community policing or state police, there is no organisation better position to carry out that responsibility like the VGN.
“We have been doing community policing for over 20 year with personal resources; Glo provided us with lines for easy communication but most members cannot afford the minimum balance of N600.
“So we came up with a bill so that this organisation will be recognised by law with very little funding; we are volunteers and can do this work even without being paid.
“If the government gives us small support, it will go a long way to address the spate of insecurities,” he said
Bakori said that vigilantes are stationed in the community and understands language and customs of the area unlike police and other security personnel that get transferred across the country.
He said that crimes are organised in local languages and that after the crimes are committed, people share information in local languages.