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Constitutional Amendment: Full Text of the Commander General, Vigilante Group of Nigeria, Umar Bakori after Submission to the National Assembly

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PROPOSAL FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS TO ENHANCE NIGERIA’S POLICE AND SECURITY ARCHITECTURE TO INCORPORATE THE RELEVANCE OF THE VIGILANTE GROUP OF NIGERIA
1.   Security is a fundamental aspect of any society, and Nigeria is no exception. In recent years, the country has faced numerous challenges in maintaining the safety and well-being of its citizens, particularly in schools, farmlands, and roads. The security agencies are quite inadequate to cover the vast area of the country with a population of over two hundred million. Recognizing the need for enhanced security measures, the mobilization of members from the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN), with a membership well over a million men operating in their localities, can play a crucial role in safeguarding these vital areas.
2.   VGN is a registered organization with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and has been operating in 774 Local Government Areas for over 30 years without salary or pension, yet we are working because we have a passion for security.
3.   In 2020, the Federal Government approved 13.3 billion naira for the take-off of community policing initiatives across the country under the state Governors. The fund for training and purchase of accouterments for 40,000 volunteers, their kits, shoes, belts, and batons were provided by the Police. In the same year, the southwest Governors formed Operation Amotekun. Ekiti state spent 1.4 billion naira in kitting their members while Ondo state spent 2 billion naira to equip them and 3.2 billion on arms, and Ekiti state Governor (Fayemi) was the chairman of Nigerian Governors forum under whose leadership the 13.3 billion naira take off for community policing was released.
4.   In 2021, the southeast created Ebube Agu, and only God knows how much they spent. Zamfara State claimed to have spent over 17 billion naira on security from 2011 to 2018, Katsina State said it has spent over 10 billion naira to improve security in some troubled local government areas of the state recently. The total costs on security for 8 states, including Community policing, was 46.9 billion naira. What have they achieved? The only people who benefited probably are the police who provided the training and kitting, but you hardly see or feel the impact of the community policing initiatives anywhere in the country.
5.   The same Governors (36) who formed the majority as members of Nigeria Police Council (NPC) that consists of 39 members, other members are the president who is the chairman, the chairman of police service Commission and the serving Inspector General of police. This same Nigeria Police Council has 27 different duties under the Police Act including the appointment of IGP and his removal from office has never sat to carry out their constitutional duties of organizing, administration and general supervision of the Nigeria Police Force, in accordance with police Act, they are now trying to create another confusion which they call state police.
6.   The Nigerian Constitution sec 214(1) provides for the Nigeria Police Force and states that no other police force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof, for the purpose of unity. Sec 215(3) and (4) authorize the President and Governors to give the IGP and CPs lawful directions with respect to the maintenance and securing of public order respectively, and the IGP and CPs shall comply with these directions or cause them to be complied with. Therefore, constitutionally, the president and Governors have the same powers over the IGP and CPs respectively. The police Act stated that the president may make regulations but on the recommendation of the Nigeria Police Council with respect to the policy, organization and administration of the Force, including establishments and financial matters. Yet the Governors claim that they don’t have control over the IGP or the police, they must have their own police.
7.   In addition, sec 215 further recognizes the Nigeria Police Council and states in sec 216(2) that before making any appointment to the office of IGP or removing him from office, the president shall consult the Nigeria Police Council. For the purpose of clarity, let me reiterate that, all state Governors are members of the Nigeria Police Council, the Chairman of Police Service Commission, and the president who is the chairman, with 36 members out of 39 the Governors formed the majority and can influence any decision but yet they never meet.
8.   The Nigerian security landscape is constantly evolving, requiring adaptive measures to address emerging threats and challenges. One significant aspect of this landscape is the role played by the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN). With their numerical strength, deep knowledge of their environment, widespread presence, acceptance by Nigerians, and passion for security, the VGN has become a crucial component of the country’s security architecture. Therefore, it is imperative to incorporate their relevance into the constitutional framework governing security in Nigeria. One major problem with Nigerian security agencies is their mode of recruitment, the recruits join because they are looking for jobs and not because they have a passion for security. The services recruit them not because they meet their requirements but because they are well connected with people that matter in the society. Recruitment into the state police will be worse because of local politics.
9.   Establishment of a National Vigilante Commission tasked with overseeing the activities of the VGN, including registration, training standards, code of conduct, and disciplinary actions. Our mode of entry is free and open to all Nigerians from the age of 18 years and above and must be ready to serve in your communities. Civil and public servants, private business and corporate organizations are all welcome, what joins us together are patriotism and our passion for security.
UMAR BAKORI
Navy Capt (Retired)
National Chairman/ Commander General

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