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16 Oct 2016
FG warns Lagos government over unconstitutional activities
The Federal Government has warned state governments against arming members of neighbourhood watch, popularly known as vigilance group, they set up with firearms unless they are authorised by the Nigerian Constitution to do so.
It stated that the use of arms required proper training and skills.
The announcement by the Lagos State government last week that it was recruiting about 5,000 personnel for its neighbourhood watch had generated public concern over the possible arming of members of the anti-crime corps.
Apart from Lagos, Enugu State had also said it would recruit and deploy 25,000 men for its vigilance group to avert attacks by Fulani herdsmen.
But the Director, Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Interior, Willy Bassey, said on Saturday that all private security guards in the country must be registered by the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.
He noted that the NSCDC Act gives the agency the constitutional mandate to register all private security guards.
Bassey said, “It is a constitutional matter. If you look at the constitution, it is clearly stated that the agencies that can bear arms.”
He added that no decision had been taken on the issue of state police.
The police could not be reached for comments as calls made to the Force Public Relations Officer, Donald Awunah, failed to connect. He had yet to respond to a text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.