The Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi has asked police officers in the state to defend themselves and their police stations from being attacked by unknown gunmen in the state.
The governor also vowed to recruit one thousand vigilante men across the thirteen local government areas of the state to wage war against bandits and unknown gunmen attacking police stations in the state.
Umahi who spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, and Coordinating Commissioner, Kenneth Ugbala, made this known while briefing journalists on the outcome of the state executive council meeting that took place at the old government house Abakaliki.
Ugbala said ”The council had extensive discussions on the establishment of vigilantes and we want to take our security from the grassroots the way it has always traditionally been done. Every community in Ebonyi State is to have five vigilantes and that will give us a total of 700 vigilantes at the 13 local government areas of Ebonyi State.
“They will be responsible outside our normal community vigilantes that have always been our traditional way of safeguarding our people. The government encourages that all the villages and communities set out their own vigilantes. We all grew up to meet all these things being done and this is the right time to create barricades on the roads at odd hours and checkmating who is going out and coming in at our local government areas and communities.
“The state will equally set 700 vigilantes across the 13 LGAs and another 300 at the urban area making it a total of 1000 vigilante members. The essence of it is that all the necessary facilities that can help them do their work better including mobility and training will be instituted through the Ministry of Internal security immediately. The vehicles have already been purchased by the government to make sure that they are strategically located in all the corners of the state to ensure that our people are not attacked by bandits.
“The council resolved that the police in Ebonyi State and other security agencies must do their best to protect their police stations, that any police station that allows the division or area command to be attacked, the government will have no option than to allow such division or command to be closed down.
“The reason is that our security agencies have the primary responsibilities of protecting not only their stations or personnel working with them but our citizens but where they cannot even protect themselves, it is a big problem because they are trained for that and government agreed that if the agencies allowed their facilities to be attacked, then Ebonyi government will be requesting for close down of such station or area command while the officers working in such places will face disciplinary actions.
Umahi said he had procured over 80 sienna buses and 30 Hilux vans to be distributed to vigilantes and police stations to enable security agencies to combat crime and razing of police stations by bandits and unknown gunmen.