Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, has launched the Niger Special Vigilante Corps (NSVC).
The corps, according to the governor, is aimed at checking the activities of youth gangs, especially in Minna.
Members were drawn from nine local security outfits in the state.
Launching the corps at the Police Headquarters, Minna on Tuesday, Bello said the special vigilante corps is to compliment the manpower deficit in the conventional security agencies.
He pointed out that their area of responsibility is within Minna and its environs particularly to tackle the violent activities of youth gangs in the state capital.
He said: “While the security agencies were battling with bandits in the rural areas, a new dimension came in Minna which is unacceptable.
“We have a situation where we have youths gangs fighting one another, creating injuries on travellers. That is totally unacceptable.”
He disclosed that he came up with the idea to integrate all the nine different local security outfits in the state into one special corps in collaboration with the Police Commissioner.
Bello commended the volunteers and assured them of necessary support and enjoined them to take caution while discharging their duties and as well protect their lives within the purview of the law against the youth gangs.
‘Bandits forcing us to change’
While applauding the security agencies for their fight against banditry, he said bandits must not force people to change their style of living.
“Bandits have forced us to change our way of life in Niger State.
“They stopped our children from going to school, stopped us from travelling on our roads, stopped farmers from going to the farm and now they are trying to stop our children from going to Islamic schools.
“But we will not be intimidated, we will not allow that to happen, we will continue to live our normal lives,” he said.
The governor, however, urged parents to live up to their responsibility through good parenting.
In his speech, the state’s Commissioner of Police (CP), Adamu Usman, said the special vigilante corps were trained in the last two weeks to curb youth restiveness in Minna the state capital.
CP Usman commended the Niger State approach by empowering the police to train and supervise the activities of the vigilante corps.
The nine vigilante groups that formed the special force include; Chinaka, ADC, Abidoka, WAI BRIGADE, Hunters Group, AOG, Vigilantes and Maito Maitumbi Security Organisation.
Ten Hilux vans, 20 motorcycles with 161 members of the corps were launched as part of phase 1 as the second phase will soon commence and will be replicated in other parts of the state.