By Jon Egie

 

 

CSP Acha Jonathan reading his welcome address during the summit

CSP Acha Jonathan reading his welcome address during the summit

“Cultists have murdered sleep and they will sleep no more” the DPO of ‘A’ Division, Ughelli, CSP Acha Jonathan has warned.

The DPO gave the warning in an address he presented during a security summit on activities of cultists and herdsmen in Ughelli and environs and the need for communities to partner with Police in the management of crimes and criminalities at the community level; Tuesday, Fe.28 at the ‘A’ Division, Ughelli premises.

The DPO said the essence of the summit was to bring on board security stakeholders in the LGA to brainstorm on sensitive issues anchored on the activities of herdsmen and cultists believing that together “we can find solution to their menace and chart a new beginning that will enable the security operatives stamp out crimes and criminality in the kingdoms within the division and thereby midwife a new beginning in crime management.

He informed that community policing all over the world is the engine room for proactive management of crimes at the community level but lamented that there had not been an open relationship between the police and community vigilante “until now” stressing that the obvious fact was the bane of security operatives’ failure to gather credible intelligence that was good enough to manage proactively and professionally, the cultists and herdsmen reign of terror.

“The truth to be told and the lesson to learn in the present circumstance is that every policeman working outside his native locality cannot claim better knowledge of his work environment than the people and the local vigilante groups.

“Consequently, we will work together with the communities’ vigilante groups to secure the freedom of the entire Ughelli North kingdoms from the grip of cultist and herdsmen menace.”

He emphasized that for the task to be done, there was urgent need to establish robust “Police-Vigilante” patrol teams and to have fully armed detachment of joint police-vigilante team on standby as “Quick Intervention Unit” (QIU) at the divisional headquarters for rapid deployment to any community in case of distress calls; provide basic training and re-training at the divisional level for the members of the vigilante on combat readiness and condone and search operations;  ensure that the joint teams stood firm to block undue interference of community leaders in the management  of crimes and criminality in their areas because of their children involvement; partner with communities to stamp out cultism in Ughelli North LGA with special attention to communities in the four kingdoms under ‘A’ Division; work diligently and stay functionally active so that the commitment and dedication of the vigilante members will encourage the communities to support them with logistics and operational equipment.”

He said the police-vigilante patrol teams will have a dressing code which would remain as their uniform to enhance easy identification for those carrying local weapons.

“We will establish Joint Information Bureau Unit charged with the responsibility of raking in valuable intelligence from communities that will enhance operations at all times.

“We are in a new spirit to flush out cultists and herdsmen related crimes in Ughelli North communities and restore the lost pride and glory of the kingdoms known from ancient time as a home of hospitality. This we must do legally and perhaps violently because the Bible says ‘The Kingdom of Heaven suffered violence and the violent takes it by force”.

 

Members of the vigilante groups present at the summit

Members of the vigilante groups present at the summit

In a key note address delivered by the Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr Zanna Ibrahim who was represented by the DPO of ‘A’ Division, Warri, CSP Aniete Eyoh, affirmed that the formation of vigilante in all communities “is a must” stressing however, that they must be regimented and loyal to hierarchy of authority.

The CP said under scored the necessity for provision of patrol vehicles for the vigilante and decried the situation where the communities often abandoned the vigilante members whenever they had a difficulty.

“Everybody must anchor security orderliness in his immediate environment and pass useful information to the police” the CP charged.

Commenting, Barr Sam Mariere, member representing Ughelli Constituency 11, in the DTHA said the primary function of government was the provision of security of lives and property of the citizenry and that the DTHA has in various times been engaged in ensuring that that aspect of the constitution is met.

He declared his stand against the menace of the activities of cult groups in the streets and hence he co-sponsored the Bill on anti-cultism and anti-kidnapping which have become laws in Delta State.

He informed that the so called Ghana boys are nothing other than those involved in kidnapping in places outside their home and therefore pledged support for the police initiative for the police-vigilante joint force to curb crime and criminality.

Hon Mariere further informed that the DTHA was in the process of legalizing the operations of the vigilante groups across the State with a proviso for remuneration to the members adding that the law makers were also in the move to stemming the menace of herdsmen through the creation of a legal instrument that would empower the police and other law enforcement agents pounce on violators.

In an interview, Mr Acha Jonathan commended members of the contact committee for the fight against cultists and herdsmen namely: Monday Owhesiri (Delta State Commander of Vigilante of Nigeria)Okoloko Pupa, Thomas Abirhire and Mr Daniel Agbroko, for their contribution so far.

The event was witnessed by the Ovie of Ughelli among other monarchs and stakeholders in the economy of the town.