By Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto
The Sokoto State Government has banned the operation of ‘soi disant’ vigilante groups in order to drive the efforts to curb the proliferation of banditry and sundry crimes bedeviling the eastern flank and other parts of the state.
It also enjoined citizens desirous of contributing their quota to the fight against criminals and criminalities to join legitimately constituted vigilance groups that would commence operation under the supervision and direction of the state’s police command and other security outfits in the state.
A statement that was issued by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Muhammad Bello, said that the state’s police command has commenced the training of legitimately constituted vigilante groups in the state preparatory to signing of the law.
The statement added that Governor Tambuwal made the disclosure on Monday while signing into law the “Yan Sa Kai [Self-Styled Vanguards] (Prohibition] Order 2021” at a stakeholders security meeting held at the Sultan Maccido Institute for Qur’anic and General Studies, Sokoto.
The order while outlawing “the organisation, operation, and activities of ‘Yan Sa Kai,’” stipulated that any contravention should be “punished in accordance with the provisions of the Penal Code Law 2019.”
Consequently, any convicted offender of Section 4 (a,b,c and d) shall be guilty and liable on conviction to a fine of N500,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of 14 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.
Section 5 also provides that “any person who while in public has with him offensive weapons or missiles, otherwise than in pursuance of lawful authority, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of N200,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of 7 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
Prior to signing the law Gov. Tambuwal had told participants at the gathering that it was convened “to see how best we can support the vigilante groups in Sokoto.
“We know the history of banditry and what happened in Zamfara and the role of ‘Yan Sa Kai, which they are still playing in Zamfara State; and, how that exacerbated the security situation in Zamfara State.
“We have noticed that this practice is creeping into Sokoto State and is causing a lot of harm. The most recent one is what happened in Illela Local Government Area; and, we believe that we have to be very proactive in training, re-training and empowering the vigilante; and, making sure that they work, hand-in-hand with the established security agencies as recognized by law.
“It is only that way that we can have the full benefit of their knowledge of the terrain and experiences in helping to curb and nip in the bud the current security challenges in the state,” explained the governor.
The meeting was attended by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, members of the Sokoto Sultanate Council, heads of security outfits in the state, local government chairmen, district heads and leadership of the legitimate vigilante groups in the state.