Usman Jahun, Commander General of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria, says “Operation Amotekun” requires the backing of the Federal Government to operate legally.
Jahun said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.
The vigilante commander said although the setting up of the security outfit was good and for the protection of the South West territory, it needed the backing of the government to be legalised
According to him: “You know security is purely a government affair.
“When we say government, we are talking of Federal, State or Local Governments.
“Amotekun, as it is called in the South West, is a combination of all informal security agencies coming together with the aid and support of the formal security agencies to fight crime to protect the South West region.
“The problem is that what is the legal backing of Amotekun?
“If the state has rights to legislate and have something like the vigilante, the Hisbah or any other informal groups, the South West as a group doesn’t have that legal backing.
“It is either the state or the local governments or the Federal Government.
“Those are the three stages of government that have power to legislate on issues that have to do with security.
“The legal standing of Amotekun is the question.
“They may have good intention to protect their territory and people against crimes happening in the country, but the issues is what is the legal backing on Amotekun.”
On Community Policing, Jahun said the government should equip and train existing vigilante groups rather than create community policing outfits.
He said the activities of existing vigilante groups currently support and complement the formal security agencies.
He said: “The Community Policing is just like the Vigilante Group.
“We are everywhere.
“Amongst us are farmers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, journalists and so on.
“If you have this combination, you have already formed community policing structure.
“I’m assuring you that if VG will be well equipped, trained, given rifles, equipped with vehicles, knowledge and with structure, already you have community policing.
“You don’t need to go and create another issue that has to do with community policing.
“If you are talking about lawyers, we have them amongst us.
“Members of the NURTW we have them amongst us.
“Journalists, we have them among us.
The CG, who described VGN as a group made up of men and women of good character, said they are in all 774 local government areas of the country with about seven million registered members.”
NAN reports that the VGN has been in operation since after the civil war of 1960.
The group is duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and present in all communities within the country.
It is also known as Neighbourhood Watch or Vigilance Services in some communities.”