By Ikeugonna Eleke
The Anambra Vigilante Group (AVG) has raised the alarm, saying that the organisation is being impersonated by some people who are not their members, but carry pump action rifles about.
The AVG has for a long time been a partner to secular security agencies in the fight against insecurity in the state.
They are mostly licensed to carry pump action rifles as against the automatic rifles wielded by conventional security agents.
They have been very helpful in arresting criminals in various communities but are always mandated to hand them over to the police upon arrest.
In a press release by the spokesperson of the group, Nweke Nweke, AVG stated that it had been infiltrated by some people who carried pump action rifles but were not their members, some of who, they said, used them criminally.
Nweke, in a press release made available to Fides, said the group would henceforth arrest and prosecute those who impersonated them, warning those impersonating the local security outfit in all nooks and crannies of the state to make an urgent u-turn or face the dire consequence.
He said: ‘It has become imperative to warn those that carry Pump Action Guns under the umbrella of AVG, but are not known to the Homeland Security Ministry or the operational wing of the outfit to refrain from such activities with immediate effect.
‘We call for urgent identification-cum authentication of all vigilante men working across the state.
‘It has become imperative, owing to the danger the operations of the none-recognized Pump Action Gun bearer(s) pose in tackling the insecurity in Anambra State.’
The group said the Anambra State House of Assembly enacted the Anambra State Vigilante Group Law under the Chris Ngige PDP-led Administration in 2004, and that the Vigilante Law gave private groups the right to assist the police and sister security agencies to eradicate crime and criminality in the state, but that the opportunity should not be abused by anybody.
‘Inasmuch as we appreciate the efforts of all private groups in assisting to combat crime in the state, they should also not work on the back page of the law that empowers them to operate.
‘It is however a security threat to employ any person with questionable character as such a person will only sneak in to know our operational method in assisting the police in fighting the men of the underworld and leak our strategy to his gangs and that is the more reason we need to know the recruitment method of the private groups,’ Nweke stated in the release.
The group warned that its task force team would go round and arrest any unidentified person carrying arms but not affiliated to the Ministry of Homeland Security.