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Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Still lamenting last week’s invasion of Ukpabi Nimbo community in Uzo-Uwani council of Enugu state, traditional rulers and town union leaders from over 400 communities in Enugu rose from a crucial security meeting with Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi on Monday with a resolve to reactivate neighbourhood associations, also known as vigilante groups, in all the communities in the state.
The governor also pledged to provide an initial seed money of N100 million to support the security efforts and activities of the communities, insisting that he was still in pain as a result of the wanton loss of lives and properties in the Nimbo community.
The meeting however made it clear that the present initiative is not intended to diminish the responsibilities and duties of the security agencies but would “provide effective security for our people but is rather, designed to aid and assist them in the discharge of those duties”.
It was resolved that the state government should prevail on the Housenof Assembly to facilitate the amendment of the law establishing the vigilante groups in the state to strengthen them and possibly enable them bear arms.
They also resolved that communities should pay security levies as counterpart contribution to support the state government in funding vigilante groups.
They also resolved “to go back to our respective communities to mobilise our people and sensitize the on the need to support the initiative of government as they relate to security of lives and property in Enugu state”.
Others are, “to ensure that we as the traditional rulers and presidents-general of the town unions work harmoniously to ensure the success of the new initiative of government on security.
“To reassure all visitors, settlers or foreigners in Enugu of their safety and friendship of Enugu people so long as they conduct themselves in a manner that promote peace and order and refrain from acts that may truncate their peaceful coexistence with their host communities”.
The communiqué was read by the governor who had earlier in his opening address announced government’s intention “to activate the provisions of the extant and relevant laws of Enugu State particularly, the Neigbourhood Association and Watch Groups Law 2006 which provides for the establishment and operation of neighbourhood watch associations in every autonomous community in Enugu State.”
“Though these associations have been constituted in many communities, we understand that most of them have not been functional mainly due to lack of funding and other incentives.
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