Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki on Monday, revealed that a group of kidnappers attacked and took over a police checkpoint in the state.
The governor who was speaking at a security meeting with all the security heads in the State, in Benin, said no lives were lost in the attack, but it had triggered the need for a complete overhaul of the vigilante system.
He also said that he had instructed all the members of the State’s Security Vigilante Network, which has over 6,500 operatives, to undergo re-accreditation. He said this was part of his efforts to enhance the State’s security structure and protect the people and their properties from crime.
He added that his government would continue to work with security agencies to fight against criminal activities in the State.
“We are having this security briefing this morning to let the public know the measures that security agencies and Edo State Government are taking to secure lives and properties in Edo State.
“We all are aware of the security challenges in the State this weekend, particularly in Edo North, where in the guise of burial some citizens resulted to arson and assault on security agencies in Oja Village.
“The government can’t fold its hands and allow a breakdown of law and order in the State as appropriate actions will be taken and we have resolved to deal with what happened last Saturday.
“We will not accept a situation where citizens attack members of the security agencies, it’s not acceptable. As a government, we will deal with those involved in the incident,” Obaseki said.
Regarding the re-accreditation of the vigilantes, the Governor said:
“Commencing today, only the vigilante personnel trained in the Nigerian Police Training School under the arrangement with the Edo State Government will be allowed to serve in Edo State.
“All vigilante groups and persons trained so far, about 6,500 men, are required to report to the Police Staff College where they received training for accreditation. The commander will be issuing instructions on the specific dates for reaccreditation.”
He further said, “After the re-accreditation, anybody or group acting as vigilantes without being trained by the Edo State Government will be dealt with like criminals. Come out for the exercise, as we want to re-identify them and put them in our security information system software that we have developed. It will help monitor and track their activities.”
The governor also assured that he would maintain a strong partnership with security agencies in the State. He said, “The State will collaborate with Federal agencies, manning 24/7 hours Command and Control Center to ensure any incident, crime or breach of security is reported and all security agencies are in full alert to deal with such.
“Citizens are encouraged to call the security emergency numbers 112 or 739. These numbers should be called in any time of distress or security breaches in Edo State.”