The carrying of firearms by its operators in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and other regions of the nation has been defended by the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN).
According to the group, it is unable to defend public schools and other facilities within the FCT and outside of it without using force.
The VGN was responding to a circular issued by the FCT Security Committee that forbade vigilante organizations in the FCT from possessing weapons.
At a briefing in Abuja, Navy Captain Umar Bakori (ret. ), the VGN Commander General, stated that the group has put procedures in place to check impersonation.
He noted that the VGN has been collaborating with the military and other security and intelligence agencies to rid the country of terrorism and other emerging security threats.
He said its members were trained by the army, police, and the Department of Security Services (DSS).
He said: “I am sure the issue of banning vigilantes from carrying arms is very unbecoming because there is no way we can operate without weapons. Most of our weapons are registered, as I said earlier, we assist the police. Before going on any operations, if we suspect anything, we report immediately to the Divisional Police Officer. There are DPOs that cannot lead an operation into certain localities without our men. We also assist the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), most of this success they are recording is information from our men but because we don’t make noise, does not mean we are not working.
“We are not working because we want to be recognized, no we are working because we are Nigerians and we want the country to be safe. We must assist to ensure that our people sleep with their eyes closed.”
Recall that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Security Committee last week introduced a Code of Conduct for vigilance groups operating in the territory, placing a ban on the use of firearms by their members.