Obaseki orders reaccreditation of over 6,500 vigilante personnel

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Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki,  has ordered the reaccreditation of all operatives of the State’s Security Vigilante Network, totaling over 6,500, in a renewed effort to strengthen the state’s security architecture in order to combat crime and protect residents’ lives and property.

Obaseki made the order on Monday during a security briefing at the Solomon Arase Command and Control Centre in Benin City, Edo State’s capital, attended by all security chiefs in the state.

Obaseki reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the protection of the Edo people’s lives and property, saying his administration will continue to work with security agencies to battle crime and criminality in the state.

He said, “We are having this security briefing this morning to let the public know the measures that security agencies and Edo State Government are doing to secure lives and properties in Edo State.

“We all are aware of the security challenges in the State this weekend, particularly in Edo North, where in the guise of burial some citizens resulted to arson and assault on security agencies in Oja Village.

“The government can’t fold its hands and allow a breakdown of law and order in the State as appropriate actions will be taken and we have resolved to deal with what happened last Saturday.

“We will not accept a situation where citizens attack members of the security agencies, it’s not acceptable. As a government, we will deal with those involved in the incident.”

On reaccreditation of the vigilante in the State, Obaseki said, “We heard some kidnappers took over a checkpoint and attacked some policemen on patrol, but none lost their lives in the incident and this has prompted the government to commence a total revamp of the vigilante structure.

“Commencing today, only the vigilante personnel trained in the Nigerian Police Training School under the arrangement with the Edo State Government will be allowed to serve in Edo State. All vigilante groups and persons trained so far, about 6,500 men, are required to report to the Police Staff College where they received training for accreditation. The commander will be issuing instructions on the specific dates for reaccreditation.”

He added, “After the reaccreditation, anybody or group acting as vigilantes without being trained by the Edo State Government will be dealt with like criminals. Come out for the exercise, as we want to re-identify them and put them in our security information system software that we have developed. It will help monitor and track their activities”.

The governor, while reassuring sustained partnership with security agencies in the State, said, “The State will collaborate with Federal agencies, manning 24/7 hours Command and Control Center to ensure any incident, crime or breach of security is reported and all security agencies are in full alert to deal with such.

“Citizens are encouraged to call the security emergency numbers 112 or 739. These numbers should be called in any time of distress or security breaches in Edo State.”

Reassuring potential investors that the State is safe and secure for business, the governor noted, “We are introducing this security alert because we are aware and have had reports that some players in the political space naturally benefit from crisis situation, and we had reports that some are trying to bring in miscreants to man and support their political structure.

“We are aware and Edo will be peaceful as my administration will deal with anybody who takes action to upset our security like a common criminal.”

He added, “We are not waiting for incidents to happen before we respond. We are addressing issues ahead of time and want to inform the people that we now have a fully manned Command and Control Center as our security emergencies numbers are now active.”

On his part, the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Funsho Adegboye said “Edo State Government in collaboration with the Inspector General of Police is bringing in about 4,000 policemen into the State to ensure peace and development in the State.”

Also, Commander 4 Brigade Nigerian Army, Brig. Gen. Ebenezer Oduyebo said his men will continue to collaborate and support other sister security agencies to ensure the safety and security of the people.