Ebonyi State government yesterday decided to raise 1,000 vigilantes to tackle the menace of herdsmen and banditry. The 1,000 planned local vigilantes are different from the state Security Network outfit known as Neighbourhood Security Network which has over 3,000 members. Out of the 1,000 vigilantes, 700 would be in charge of the grassroots while 300 would be securing the urban centres.
The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Kenneth Ugbala, disclosed this while briefing journalists on the outcome of the state Security Council Meeting held at the old Government House, Abakaliki, with all the security chiefs in attendance. He said: “The council had extensive discussions on the establishment of vigilantes and we want to take our security from the grassroots, the way it has always traditionally been done. Every community in Ebonyi State is to have five vigilantes and that will give us a total of 700 vigilantes in the 13 local government areas of Ebonyi State.
They will be outside our normal community vigilantes that have always been our traditional way of safeguarding our people, which the government encouraged that all the villages and communities should set out their own vigilantes. We all grew up to meet all these things being done and this is the right time creating barricades on the roads at odd hours and checkmating who is going out and coming in at our local government areas and communities.” On the attacks on police stations in the state, Ugbala said policemen had been mandated to secure their stations and that any station attacked would be closed down.
He added: “The council resolved that the police in Ebonyi State and other security agencies should do their best to protect their police stations, that any police station that allows the division or area command to be attacked, government will have no option than to allow such division or command to be closed down. The reason is that our security agencies have the primary responsibilities of protecting not only their stations or personnel working with them but our citizens but where they cannot even protect themselves, it is a big problem because they are trained for that and government agreed that if the agencies allow their facilities to be attacked, then Ebonyi government will be requesting for a closure of such station or area command while the officers working in such places will face disciplinary actions.”