Your Excellency, I must commend your string of successes in the court cases involving your validation as the winner of the September 19th 2020 gubernatorial election in the state, I must say e no easy. Ha you came, you saw and you conquered, congratulations once again.
Sir, I wish to beg for your urgent re-appraisal of the State Vigilante network popularly called VGN. The VGN no doubt has recorded a string of successes in its operation and have to a large extent secured the state from the excesses of hoodlums and even bandits. Saying they are not effective or needed is a gross disservice to not only my State, Edo but also as a Nigerian. Only a criminal and hardened one at that would be saying the VGN is not doing a great job in the state.
But however your Excellency I must bring to your notice the excesses and unprofessional conduct of these vigilantes that if not checked would surely lead to bloodshed, sorrows, tears and wailings. It would set you back and would be an albatross for your government if unattended to.
Let me begin by stressing the composition of the VGN so we all can be on the same page, first of all, 80 per cent of any social association in Edo State comprises members of known confraternities, eg the Black Axe, Eiye, Maphite, Vikings and co.
Now, this in itself is not bad per se because it is a norm in Benin City and across the other LGAs in the State. But in a security network where arms are the OFFICIAL TOOLS then a proper and more structured arrangement should be in place by our Technocratic Governor in the recruitment of these security agents.
Now the recruitment into the VGN is done by these various commanders that belong to the various confraternities. And these commanders recruit their foot soldiers on different bases. Some out of comradeship in their confraternity, others out of a means of making money by selling ID cards to boys so they can be able to carry pump-action rifles and barrels upadan. Then yet some give to their girlfriends and lovers, everyone has his selfish reasons.
Sir, you may not be aware, but the headship which is the commander of each unit is usually a cult member and the majority of them are unschooled and untrained. Actually, 70% of the vigilante’s heads were once or current Agberos.
Please we must understand these facts so we know the gravity of what may hit us soon if care is not taken. Being a member of VGN gives access to guns.
So this is what plays out, each unit of the Vigilante has the majority of the cult gang that the commander belongs to as members with other confra members making the rest figure up. This is a norm for any “system” man it is a means to ensure your personal security. An Axeman can never be surrounded by an Eiye man as his inner cabinet and vice versa.
So when issues of cult clashes come up, which often rears its ugly head at least every 3 months then the town turns red. It is either the cult members of the vigilante would keep away from security patrol for fear of being killed or would hide under the guise of Vigilante and perform murderous “HIT”.
The ongoing war between Black Axe and Maphite has already consumed a Vigilante member who was brutally killed by a rival gang operating under the license of VGN to commit the act. So these so-called fake VGN members are ROLLING under the cover of security operatives to perform hits.
Now away from the cult implication of the VGN, all Yahoo Yahoo boys in Gra and Amagba axis of the town are vigilante members and each has a shining pump action.
A visit to Amagba would display the latest Mercedes, Lexus etc fully tinted with the State VGN sticker all over. These Yahoo boys carry guns for their personal protection. What they are protecting themselves from I am still yet to understand.
Now, where lies the problem? Because these guys are not trained and unprofessional they are prone to successional takeover, like it happens during Road Union Transport or Community Tussle. These half baked untrained literates with guns in their possession would wreak havoc. We heard of how they confronted a DPO the other day with provocating gunshots.
Or was it the robbery some VGN members went to do at Delta State where they were caught and shot at?
Now, where do they buy these guns from? Your Excellency the State must do an inventory on the ammunitions and arms with these fellas, I swear, seeing some kind of guns these vigilantes buy for their members would make you weep. Some of these guns can only be purchased through local fabrication. So who is fabricating these weapons?
E never finish o, sir, if a breakaway faction in some of these units occurs, who is responsible to mop the arms in the hands of the discharged Vigilantees that used their personal money to buy the guns just like I would use my personal money to buy DATA.
Now Your Excellency these people say you have not paid them and they use it as a license to extort and beg like beggars from the general public. Are they supposed to be paid or is it voluntary?
They also own detention camps and torture domestic suspects. There are so many lapses that space would not let me enumerate but a simple reappraisal would correct these anomalies and Edo people can be able to have a sense of belonging with this newest security outfit in town that is doing an awesome job.
Once again congrats Your Excellency, na man you b.