A bill seeking formal recognition for the Vigilante Group of Nigeria will pass through first reading at the House of Representatives next week, the chairman, House Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Aminu Jaji, has said.
He spoke in Abuja on Tuesday at the end of the leadership training workshop organised for vigilante executives.
He described members of vigilante group as grassroots security personnel, from whom every citizen has benefitted and therefore needed formal recognition by the federal government.
He said in areas where bandits, rustlers and other criminal gangs were operating freely in the rural communities, it would be difficult for farming and mining, which the federal government is focusing on, to take place, hence the need for grassroots security outfit like the vigilante becomes imperative.
The committee chairman urged the management of the group to ensure proper screening of their members to avoid harbouring bad eggs.
The commandant-general of the group, Usman Mohammed Jahun, said VGN was established to reduce criminal activities and fear of crime in the society; reduce hazard to the community and to help in meeting the victims’ and witnesses’ needs among others.
He pleaded with the relevant government agencies to assist the group in fast-tracking the passage of the bill for an act to establish the Vigilante Community Service Corps.
“We need help in the area of affiliating the group with a relevant ministry or parastatal for proper coordination as well as provision of befitting national secretariat in Abuja for the group,’’ he pleaded.
He said, if given necessary attention, the group would replicate what they are currently doing in the North-East, in the Niger-Delta region and deal with the security situation there.