BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said that the state’s new security architecture will accommodate vigilante groups from various communities, who will be expected to assist in maintaining peace and order across the state.
The new security architecture comes on the heels of recent attacks on innocent Edo people by bandits, and will serve as a robust framework incorporating the restructured Operation Thunderstorm. The new initiative will be supported with 36 operational vehicles to be supplied by the 18 local government councils of the state.
The governor disclosed this at the Security Town Hall meeting held with security chiefs in the state, elders and other members of different communities in and around Ugboha, organised on Monday, at Esan South East Local Government Area Secretariat, Ubiaja, after the killing of three persons in the area by bandits.
According to the governor, the new security measures isintended to forestall breakdown of law and order across the state, noting that the architecture is made up relevant security outfits in the state.
He said, “I am here because of a serious security breach. We have always lived together in this state despite our differences. I am concerned because of a growing national trend. The security of our country is being undermined. We want to caution that we will not allow what is happening across the country to get to Edo State.”
Noting that the state is incorporating vigilante groups in the new security arrangement, he said, “I am working with the Commissioner of Police. We are going to totally overhaul the command and postings in the Police. Of particular interest is the Police structure in Esan land. We are going to have a Police Force that is highly mobile and integrated with the community arrangements, whether they are vigilantes or hunters. This is to ensure that if there are suspicious movements, the information will be sent across promptly.
“With the structure we now have in place, we believe that the communities will now give us more information. As much as we will reorganise the police command, the committees we have at the local government level must now be replicated at the community leve. Every ward must have the same arrangement. We have to involve our hunters so that everybody will know what is going on and can respond swiftly.”
The State Commissioner of Police, Mr Johnson Kokumo, said that Governor Obaseki has been proactive in dealing with security in the state, noting that the setting up of a committee to mediate on farmers/herdsmen clashes is a step in the right direction.
Barr. Richard Oyedo, a member of the community, commended the governor for the actions taken to curb clashes and maintain law and order in the state, noting that for a long time, people in the community had feared going to their farms due to the activities of bandits.
He said. “The governor has done well with his handling of the state’s security. We want him to do more and we are happy with the announcement of a new security structure to be launched soon.”