Edo to Engage Local Vigilantes, Forest  Guards to Boost Security 

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Godwin Obaseki

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has expressed the readiness of his administration to work with local vigilantes, forest guards and rangers in intelligence gathering to strengthen the state’s security architecture.

Obaseki stated this when he received members of Esan Development Union led by its President, Dr. Nosa Edeko on a courtesy visit to Government House, Benin City.

The governor, who acknowledged the challenges posed by armed bandits in Esan community, explained that plans were in top gear to relaunch the Edo State Security Trust Fund in order to boost security in the state.

He said plans to check activities of bandits and other criminals include training of local vigilantes, hunters, forest rangers and guards to synergise with the Nigeria Police on deploying communication gadgets for intelligence gathering.

“The sole purpose of any government is to secure the lives and property of its citizens and any government that fails to do that is not fit to be called a government. We are trying to incorporate the vigilantes, hunters, forest guards and rangers to strengthen our security architecture in the state. This will be achieved by providing them with training, equipment and other necessary technology to fast track information sharing and intelligence gathering, which will reduce crime drastically.

“We are relaunching the Edo State Security Trust Fund before the end of the year as it will be a veritable tool to raise finance to sustain efforts we are putting in place as a government on security.”

Obaseki assured members of the union that he would support their empowerment programme in agriculture by helping with land preparations.

“As we speak today, in Esan we have cleared and prepared in excess of 500 hectares of land. If we have more land we would have done more. We have an agricultural accelerated programme, where we work with genuine groups. We also have off-takers for specific products like maize, soya beans, rice and cassava. We have about six places across the state that these crops are being cultivated.”

He explained that the issue of poor power supply was being addressed as President Muhammadu Buhari’s solution of engaging the services of Siemens would begin to yield fruits before December.

“President Buhari recently signed an agreement with Siemens to undertake a study of all the electricity distribution companies and deploy its personnel to fix the problematic areas. I have also met with them in New York and have a relationship with Siemens as they built Azura Power Plant. I am on the board of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company and will do my best to see that investment needed is made to improve electricity”.

Earlier, President of the union, Dr. Edeko appealed to Governor Obaseki to help tackle frequent attacks on various communities by suspected Fulani herders.

Dr. Edeko also informed him of the union’s plans to lift the youth out of poverty through various agricultural programmes.