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Despite 23 states’ security outfits, insecurity festers

The security outfits established by many states of the federation to curtail the security challenges therein have not achieved the purpose of creating them, Daily…

The security outfits established by many states of the federation to curtail the security challenges therein have not achieved the purpose of creating them, Daily Trust on Sunday can report.

Between 2013 and this year, no fewer than 23 states had unveiled their security outfits. Sone zones had also come together to form security outfits to combat the security challenges in their areas.

There are, however, concerns that despite the establishment of those security outfits, terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism, vandalism and other crimes are still on the rise.

The Senate had, in January this year, summoned security chiefs over the rising cases of killings, kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, armed robbery and other criminal activities across the country.

During the launch of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum Peace and Inclusive Security Initiative (PISI) in Abuja in 2021, the NGF stated that between May 2011 and February 2021, over 76,000 deaths were reported in the country.

Despite 23 states’ security outfits, insecurity festers

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The then NGF’s chairman, who was the governor of Ekiti State at that time, Kayode Fayemi, blamed the situation on proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

A 2023 Nigeria Security Report by Beacon Consulting, a security risk management and intelligence consulting company, also revealed that 78,148 Nigerians were killed across the nation from 2014 to 2023.

The report indicated that 11,389 Nigerians were killed in 2014; 11,119 in 2015; 4,896 in 2016; 4,949 in 2017; 6,162 in 2018; 5,948 in 2019; 8,459 in 2020; 10,887 in 2021; 10,754 in 2022; and 3,585 in 2023.

According to the report, 16,644 of the victims were killed by terrorism; 8,475 by banditry and 1,897 by farmers/herders clashes.

benue security outfit
benue security outfit

Similarly, a recent report by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) revealed that between 2013 and 2023, a total of 19,718 Nigerians were kidnapped across the country.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government and the governments of the 36 states on Thursday considered the idea of creating state police.

The creation of state security outfits started in 2013, with the Borno State Government setting up the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) as a response to the Boko Haram insurgency. The force has continued to work with the military in the fight against terrorism.

The Rivers State government, in 2016, set up a security outfit called “Service” to maintain peace in some parts of the state. Also, in 2019, the state government launched another security outfit code-named ‘Operation Sting’ to improve the security of lives and property in the state.

The Lagos State Government, in 2017, launched the Lagos Neighborhood Safety Corps (LNSC), a uniformed security agency established by a law of the state House of Assembly in 2016, to assist the police and other security agencies to maintain law and order in the state. Operatives of the corps operate in all the 57 local government areas and local council development areas in the state.

The corps was mandated to assist and complement the police by providing intelligence for crime prevention and facilitating the arrest of perpetrators of criminal activities in the various communities in the state.

At the peak of bandits’ activities in Kaduna State, the state government, in April 2018, established the Kaduna State Vigilance Service, by law number 10 of June, 2016. The service was created to assist the Nigeria Police and other security agencies to prevent and detect crime, arrest offenders, protect lives and property, and preserve law and order.

In September last year when the state government commenced a training for the 7,000 vigilante members recently recruited, Governor Uba Sani said they would be deployed to rural communities to tackle banditry, kidnapping and other related crimes threatening the peace and security of the state.

In 2019, the government of Ogun State established the Community Social Orientation and Safety Corps, also known as So Safe Corps, to address armed robbery and cultism.

The South West states of Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti, Oyo, Lagos and Osun, in 2020, establish the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), codenamed Amotekun, to combat banditry, armed robbery and kidnapping.

Despite the initial opposition, especially by the Nigeria Police Force, the Houses of Assembly in the six states later passed the bills establishing the outfit.

In 2021, the Imo State government created the Imo State Security Network to prevent the activities of unknown gunmen and other criminal elements amid the incessant killings of police officers in the states.

The governors of the South-East states, in 2021, formed a joint security outfit code named Ebube Agu (Wonderful Tiger) to “flush out criminals and terrorists from the zone”.

Also, in 2021, the Niger State government established the Niger Special Vigilante Corps to address the killings and kidnappings by armed bandits in parts of the state, particularly in Shiroro Local Government Area of the state.

The Bauchi State government also set up Bauchi State Vigilante and Youth Empowerment Agency in 2022, to prevent crimes, especially terrorists’ activities.

The Gombe and Benue State Governments, also in 2022, created the Gombe State Security, Traffic and Environmental Corps (GOSTEC) and the Benue Volunteer Guards (BVGs) respectively to address their security challenges.

In 2023, Abia State established a security outfit called Operation Crush to tackle incessant cases of kidnappings and robberies; Akwa Ibom, Ibom Community Watch; Anambra State, Anambra Vigilante Group;

Also, in 2023, Bayelsa State established the Community Safety Corps; Ebonyi, Ebonyi State Neighbourhood Watch and Enugu State, Distress Response Squad.

In October 2023, the government of Katsina State, one of the North West states ravaged by bandits and terrorists’ attacks,  inaugurated the Community Watch Corps to complement efforts of conventional security agencies in the fight against banditry.

Last December, the government of Plateau State inaugurated 600 operatives of the Neighbourhood Watch, codenamed Operation Rainbow, to maintain peace and ensure security of lives and property in various communities in the state.

In December 2023, the Sokoto State Government established the Community Guard Corps, which it said would collaborate with other community policing organisations to address cross-border banditry and kidnapping.

In January this year, the Zamfara State government launched the 2,645-member State Community Protection Guards to tackle the killings and abductions by bandits in the state.

despite 23 states’ security outfits, insecurity festers
despite 23 states’ security outfits, insecurity festers

State security outfits, part of restructuring processes – Expert

A security expert, Abdullahi Garba, described the creation of state security outfits as part of the processes to restructure the country.

Garba said: “I believe this creation of security outfits at state levels will set a tone for the long-awaited restructuring. Specifically, it has both advantages and disadvantages. You can see that some states operating these security outfits are enjoying relative peace in their domains.

“We had operated federal police for a very long time without results. My only plea to the governors in those states is that they should not turn those outfits to willful tools to muscle anybody with divergent views”, he said.

A former Commissioner of Police in the FCT, Lawrence Alobi, queried: “We’ve been trying federal police all along since our independence; how far have we gone with this federal system of policing? Have we been able to achieve the desired secured Nigerian society where every law-abiding citizen is safe and secure?”

Govs should address socio-economic issues causing crimes – Retired AIG

A retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Wilson Inalegwu, called on state governors to address the socio-economic problems causing crimes.

He said: “They need to look into possible solutions. There are social issues, there are economic issues. So, law enforcement alone cannot work. If anybody thinks law enforcement alone can address present security issues, the person is living in a fool’s paradise.

“When you address issues of crimes and insecurity, a lot of them are social issues, political, religious and economic. It is not about arresting. They also need the political will to address it.”

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