The Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has declared that the state vigilante services will undergo a new training for them to be educated on their limits and boundaries as a support service to the statutory law enforcement agencies and for them to be abreast of their new roles in the face of the emerging security challenges facing the country.
The Governor disclosed that the Abia State Vigilante Services (AVS) has long been in existence in the state but that he is only re-engineering the outfit for it to be able to assist in addressing the new forms of security threat, adding that the unit will play new roles of fencing the communities from both internal and external aggression.
The Governor said the role of the vigilante services has become very crucial at this point in time but noted that they need to be well orientated on how to work and operate in a democracy and how to relate to the law enforcement agencies and the public.
The Governor’s clarification, according to a statement by the governor’s chief press secretary, Godwin Adindu, has become necessary in view of the insinuations from some mischievous elements that the AVS is being equiped as a local militia to fight herdsmen.
The security outfit came into existence over sixteen years ago as a reaction to the disturbances of hoodlums in Aba and was later elevated to a vigilante services.
The neigbouring states also engaged their services in combating armed robbery when the hoodlums seemed to have overwhelmed the statutory agencies.
Governor Ikpeazu explained further that as an organ of the security protected by the laws of Abia State, the unit has a well articulated chain of command with commanders in various local councils and zones, stressing that what the men of the service need now is a training in the language of security and skill for intelligence gathering.
The Governor said he is beefing up the services with over 500 men because they are needed in the communities to fence off security threats and sniff out crimes and criminals in the communities but added that they need to know clearly where their power stops and where that of the Police begins.
He said his action in reviving the outfit now is in reaction to the security issues confronting not only Abia but the entire country and not specifically for any group.