Why Neighbourhood Guards Can't Use Guns —Commissioner


The reason why officials of the Neighbourhood Watch in Lagos State cannot be armed with  weapons in the discharge of their duties was recently revealed by the state Commissioner  for Rural Development, Prince Lanre Balogun.

According to the Commissioner, it would require the approval of the National Assembly to  enable the officials of the paramilitary organisation to use guns.

Prince Balogun, who made this known at the decoration ceremony of former Deputy Governor  of the state, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, former Secretary to the State Government (SSG),  Asiwaju Ruben Olorufumi Bashorun and a Director of Civil Engineering in the Ministry of  Rural Development, Engineer Rasheed Akintola, by the Neighbourhood Watch, also maintained  that the organisation was not created to use arms in the discharge of their duties since  they operate at the community level and are supposed to assist law enforcement agents.

Said the Commissioner: “I believe so strongly that we don’t have to get to the area of  defence, that is like curing a disease, but we need to do prevention which is better than  cure and that’s what they are doing but you probably wouldn’t know it because you have  never been attacked.”

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Also, Special Adviser to the Governor On Rural Development, Mr. Paul Kalejaiye, while  explaining the reason for the  establishment of paramilitary organisation, said it was  meant to deter people from criminality, sensitize the people in the rural community to be  security conscious and also teach them basic surveillance method.

“In our effort to ensure  that whatever we do in Lagos we do with a sense of perfection,  we have realised that we have a neighbourhood corps and that is an all embracing thing  but we have  introduced another innovation to ensure that we decorate well-meaning  Nigerians as corps marshals.”

Responding on behalf of other recipients, Prince Ogunleye, who commended the corps,  complained that though crime was on the decrease in the state, it is high within the  Ikorodu axis of the state.  “This is a great responsibility vested on us and we will do  our best to make sure that the corps moves on progressively,” he added.

—Eromosele Ebhomele

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