Enugu Recruits 25,000 for Neighbourhood Watch Against Herdsmen Attack
Enugu State, South-East Nigeria on Wednesday began the recruitment of neighbourhood watch members in all its communities.
This has come in the wake of devastating attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen that have seen Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi besieged with calls for self help in the face of inaction from the Federal Government.
Punch reports that a total of 25,000 persons, mostly able-bodied young men, are to be recruited, and no fewer than 50 persons will serve in neighbourhood security outfits in each of the 470 communities in the state.
The neighbourhood watch members are to be trained by retired military and police officers on basic security procedures, including handling of light weapons, and they’ll be put on a stipend from contributions from the state government, local councils and the communities.
While majority of the people welcomed the idea, there was palpable tension when it was revealed that traditional rulers would recruit the 50 persons that would make up their community security units.
A chief in one of the communities in the Nkanu area of Enugu, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “It is a known fact that most of the traditional rulers are not on good terms with their subjects, and as a result of this, it would not be safe to allow them to pick members of the neighbourhood watch.
“Tomorrow, they can turn those boys into a private army and use them to victimise their opponents or anybody they don’t like.”
Similarly, Chief John Onyishi, the President of Nsukka Development Congress, was opposed to the method of recruitment.
“Over 50 per cent of traditional rulers in Enugu State are engaged in disputes with their chiefs and other subjects.
“Nobody will allow his enemy to guard him and asking traditional rulers to produce names of such neighbourhood watch members is suicidal. It is like committing mass suicide.”
Aside from tackling the menace of herdsmen, the security outfit has a mandate to help the authorities in tackling the rising wave of crime in the state.
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