Members of vigilante groupsin Delta State are to be given stipends to encourage them as part of efforts tostrengthen security against activities of criminals, especially armed robbersand kidnappers, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has said.
Governor Uduaghanwho announced this at the end of the State Security Council meeting yesterdayin Asaba, noted that vigilante groups were very helpful in dealing with thecrime situation in the state and warned that henceforth any community headfound to be providing shelter for criminal elements would be held responsible.
Dr. Uduaghanunveiled plans by his administration to re-organise the local securityapparatus across the state, saying that “we will empower them and evenencourage some of our unemployed youths to be part of the team. We intend totrain them on security tips, on gathering information in collaboration withother security agencies in the state.”
The governorstressed that vigilante groups were key to information gathering about criminalactivities.
Reviewing thesecurity situation in the state in the past one week, Dr. Uduaghan saidstrategies employed by the state were already yielding positive resultsparticularly in the “Asaba axis but we still have issues in the Warri andSapele axis. About 11 of the criminals were arrested last week and moreimportantly was the arrest of four kidnappers in their hide-out in aneighbouring state.
“Also, we havehad the issue of the criminals engaging security agencies in shoot-outs and Ithink we have equally done well in that regard because we have not heard of oursecurity men being killed in such shoot-out of late.”
He appealed tomembers of the public to assist the security agencies with information even ashe advised family members of kidnapped victims not to rush to pay ransom as paymentof ransom would encourage the hoodlums to come back.
Uduaghan urgedmembers of the public to report kidnap cases promptly to the police for actionand avoid being anxious about paying ransom.
Dr. Uduaghan in earlieran interactive session with security operatives explained that vigilante groupsand communities are closer to the people and they can easily gather informationon criminals living among them.
He noted that theinteractive session was to brain storm on how to re-organize the vigilantegroup to make the body more effective and operate in synergy with the PoliceCommunity Relations Committee (PCRC) to achieve result.
He observed that thestate through its agenda of peace and security have tried its best in handlingsecurity challenges adding that the issue of kidnapping and robbery isthe responsibility of all Deltans.
“We have tried as astate to handle the security challenges we had in the past like inter-ethniccrisis but a new dimension has arisen, that is the issue of Kidnapping, we willcontinue to do our best to curb it but need the co-operation of everybody”.
In a briefresponse, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba thankedthe governor for his support and promised to dissolve all vigilante groups thatwere not performing in their communities.
Mr. Aduba saidsecurity was the business of everybody adding that police cannot succeedwithout the support of the people.
He said the successrecorded so far in arresting kidnapper by the police was as a result ofinformation given to the police by the vigilante groups.
His words “Gone arethe days when a person that have given information to security agencies will beimplicated. The successes we have recorded so far in arresting kidnappers andarmed robbers is from the information given us by the vigilante groups”.
He assured Deltansthat security agencies in the state would work together to make the state crimefree saying I am not competing with anybody but will work with other securityoutfits to achieve success”.