FILE PHOTO: A vigilante group

By Jethro Ibileke/Benin

Arrangements are in top gear for operatives of the Edo State Community Vigilante Security Network, to undergo training at the Police Training School, Ogida, Benin, the state capital.

Governor Godwin Obaseki disclosed this on Monday while presenting 15 operational vehicles to the Vigilante Network.

He presented the vehicles after a meeting with heads of various security agencies in the state and members of the Vigilante Security Network.

The donated vehicles

“We have made some vehicles available for the first batch to enhance your mobility, as the fueling arrangements have been put in place.

“We are making arrangements for more bulletproof vests to protect your men when you go out on operations. Also, we will give you more communication gadgets to enhance communication.

“Last week, l was in Ogida training school to see the state of the training facility and committed to helping the police refurbish the facility, which we have already started, in order to make it available for your training.”

The governor commended the Vigilante operatives for their efforts in dislodging kidnappers in the state, where 13 kidnapped victims were rescued, and their support for the federal security agencies in ensuring the security of lives and property in the state.

According to him, “I get daily reports of the success of your activities and successes recorded in recovering arms and ammunition, as well as your efforts in recapturing escapees from the prison jailbreak.

“I want to commend you for the role you have played in supporting the over-stretched federal security agencies in maintaining law and order in various communities. I thank you for the risks you are taking for us.

“We are aware of your challenges and decided that the Force grows from the base, organically, not politically; that was why you people were selected, not imposed from your various communities.

“You have justified your existence, vindicated yourself and the government, knowing that security is local. We are also going to work with you and the federal agencies.

“You all are aware of the height of the security challenges and we quietly worked out our own response and created our own security volunteer network. Today, it has grown, doing what we expected it to do by connecting security between local communities and federal security agencies.”

Obaseki reassured that his administration will put in place legislation to strengthen the security network and help it discharge its responsibilities effectively.

“We will put the necessary legislation in place, ensuring it doesn’t conflict with the existing arrangements on the ground. You are like an operational force to support the existing security structures in the state.

“As you move deeper into the forests to dislodge kidnappers from their camps, we will continue to support you in cash and in facilities,” he added.

Earlier, the Coordinator of the Vigilante Network, Mr Yusuf Haruna, disclosed that the state has been divided into 251 zones and units.

“We have established a Vigilante up to about 75 percent of the 1,416 communities across the 18 local councils of Edo State.

“We have divided Edo state into zones and units and have appointed 240 zones in Edo south, five zones in Edo central and six zones in Edo north, making a total of 251 zones across the state.”