Don’t Disarm Community Vigilante Groups, Igbo Leader Tells Police IG
By Theo Rays, Onitsha
Igbo spiritual leader Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka (Ogilisi Igbo) has called on the Inspector General (IG) of Police Ibrahim Idris not to disarm community vigilante groups who are established for security purposes in their respective communities in rural areas urging the Police boss to allow them to continue to make use of Pump Actions for effectiveness.
The IG had earlier this week ordered the Anambra State Police Command to recover illegal arms in the State within 21 days following which the Commissioner of Police Garba Umar set up a 9 man member committee headed by Baba Maiyaki, an assistant commissioner of police for the recovery exercise in the State.
Speaking on the development Umar said: “The vigilante uses only double barrel guns and that is the only weapon allowed for them to be used. All other weapons and ammunition in wrong hands, suspected militia, criminals/unlawful gangs or groups, shall be recovered henceforth.”
Ezeonwuka in a swift reaction during a chat with The Oracle Today said that vigilante groups who are established by a community to operate under the supervision of the Divisional Police Headquarters, town unions and tradition rulers should be allowed to make use of Pump Action to enable them work effectively in protecting the people against armed robbers and kidnappers.
He added,”the order to mop up illegal firearms in the State is a security measures which is acceptable to all and sundry and I commend the IG for that but the issue of restricting local vigilante groups to make use of only double barrel guns is not enough considering the fact that armed robbers, kidnappers and trigger hungry herdsmen parade highly sophisticated weapons”
He maintained that double barrel is now meant for bush hunters of grass cutters and antelopes and not for dare devil and heavily armed criminals noting that holding double barrel is as bad as leaving the vigilante groups and the communities under their watch extremely vulnerable to armed criminals.
The Igbo spiritual leader repeatedly called on the IG to device more efficient means to supervise and checkmate the operation of the vigilante groups if he has any negative observation and report over their operations insisting that community policing requires more better weapon than double barrel.
He continued “I don’t know the observation of the IG and the report he has on his table, however my position is that the vigilante boys have to be allowed to make use of Pump Action guns for the purpose of community policing, as a resident I can attest to the fact that security situation in Anambra State improved remarkably when the vigilante groups started making use of Pump Action and the result are there for everyone to see
“I commend the IG for his concern on the security of lives and property in Anambra State in particular and the Nation in general, however if he got a report of excesses rising from the operation of the vigilante groups in Anambra State, let there be measures to checkmate such instead of restricting the vigilante groups to use only double barrel against highly sophisticated criminals.