By: Ben Ukeji

Against the backdrop of agitations by some States in the federation to procure prohibited arms for Vigilante groups and other security outfits, contrary to the provision of the law, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Security Committee has introduced a Code of Conduct barring members of the Vigilante groups operating in the various communities in the Territory from using prohibited firearms.

In the newly established Code of Conduct for members of the Vigilante group,
the security committee also prohibited the vigilante from carrying out any operation without the presence of the police or the approval of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), in their respective jurisdiction.

In a statement signed by the Director,
Information and Communication, FCT, Muhammad Hazat Sule, and made available to Abuja Digest Newspaper indicated that the decision was taken at the 11th meeting of the FCT Security Committee, held recently in Gwarinpa 1 District, Abuja.

The statement, however, said members of the Vigilante are permitted to possess and use weapons for self-defense or other lawful purposes as allowed by the DPO.

According to Sule, the meeting which was presided over by the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, also approved that any member of the group, who recovers a hazardous weapon from a criminal suspect is expected to keep a detailed account and report to the police for further investigation.

The Committee permitted the vigilante group to make arrests of anyone, who violates the laws of the land as allowed under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

The statement further stated that the Security Committee agreed that any Community desirous of establishing a Vigilante group should apply and obtain the approval of the DPO within the locality.

On the recruitment of members of the vigilante group, the FCT Security Committee, which is the highest decision-making body on security matters resolved that the process must be supervised by the Community Accountability Forum (CAF) /Security Committee of the community concerned.

CAF is to ensure a fair representation of all segments of society and avoid religious, political, and ethnic persuasion.

It said the meeting also agreed that all those to be recruited must be properly profiled by the community leaders and Security agencies.

The FCT Administration encourages communities to form vigilante groups to complement the work of security agencies, especially in gathering intelligence and boosting the fight against criminals.