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Hunters as credible alternative for local security in Anambra

Sunday Mar 03, 2024 7:53 am



By Raymond Ozoji
Awka,   Features


The allegations of community vigilantes in Anambra State taking oaths with criminals and criminal elements infiltrating the vigilante service have not only made the war against criminalities in the hinterlands unsuccessful but have also made the bushes and forests a safe heaven for criminals who have their camps in such places.

Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, at a meeting with Traditional Rulers and Presidents-General recently in Awka, accused local vigilantes of working with criminal elements to terrorise citizens in the countryside. Governor Soludo who berated such ungodly situation, wondered why some heads of the vigilantes do not reside in their respective communities where they are policing instead they lived outside their areas of operations.

The Governor said irrespective of the fact that his government spent state resources in combating insecurity in the state, some communities have remained adamant because the people have not shown commitment to helping themselves end the cankerworm called sit-at-home in the area.

Also, further investigations into such troubled communities revealed that the areas have been completely deserted due to insecurity. Villages in such communities are surrounded by bushes and forests where daredevil hoodlums operate from without disturbances from vigilantes or other security agents.

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Grapevine stories have it that people in these communities no longer perform ceremonies like traditional marriage ceremonies, burial ceremonies and such others for fear of attacks from hoodlums who live in the surrounding bushes and demand from N100,000.00 and above together with other things before such ceremonies could take place, else there would be massive destructions.

This is where the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) comes in as a credible alternative in providing watertight security in the villages and communities because they are synonymous with the forests.

Hunters know and can speak the language of the forest fluently because they have done great exploits including a recent operation where officers of the Nigerian Army as well as men of the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) led to the neutralization of many unknown gunmen who attempted to ambush security operatives in Owoko community of Mmiata-Anam Anambra-East Council Area of Anambra State. Reports also have it that men of the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) displayed gallantry at Umuem-Anam community in Anambra-East where their operations neutralised scores of unknown gunmen.

To this end therefore, it will certainly not be an overstatement should the Anambra State Government consider the services of Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) to comb troubled communities in the state especially communities in Anambra-South region as no other security outfits could understand or speak the language of the forests better than hunters.

Hence, Chris Okey Udeze, the National Coordinator Community Policing Partners, believes that hunters are veritable security deposits that can function alongside vigilantes and other security agents, especially in providing intelligence in urban communities to help forestall criminal activities. He said if hunters could record milestone achievements in the Northern and Western parts of the country in tackling forest crimes, such feat could be replicated in Anambra State and the entire Southeast region.

Again, the National President of the Anambra State Association of Town Unions (ASATU) Barr. Titus Nnabuike Akpudo, said the need for state recognition of hunters can not be overemphasized. He said there was need for government to conscript hunters into the state security forces to enable them to join the vigilantes and others in fighting crimes and criminalities in the state, especially forest related crimes.

Akpudo who observed that the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) has been helpful in combating insecurity in Anambra State, noted that hunters are everywhere in the country, assisting and helping to reduce insecurity through their forest expeditions. He recalled that Ebonyi State Government recruited over 2000 hunters recently while Governors of the Northern States have been recruiting hunters and also funding them and giving them vehicles and motorcycles to carry out their operations in such places.

Meanwhile the Convener, Recover Nigeria Project, Comrade Osita Obi, said the services of the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) are required urgently in Anambra State to frontally tackle insecurity. Although he called for total reform of the vigilante service but also advocated for the inclusion of hunters in the state security architecture. He pointed out that some urban communities do not have forests, but that hunters could work in synergy with vigilantes and other security agents to secure such places through intelligence gatherings and joint operations.

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