The Vigilant Group of Nigeria (VGN), on Saturday, clarified that its men are not part of the groups banned from bearing arms by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Security Committee.

The group also flagged off the issuance of certificates to authentic members of the group to checkmate infiltration that only certified members operate as operatives across the country.

Reacting to a Circular issued by the Security Committee, the Commander General of the VGN, Navy Captain Umar Bakori (rtd), said it is impossible to carry out the task they undertake without arms.

He said that the arms used by their personnel are duly registered and cleared by their supervising agency, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

According to him, the VGN is responsible for the security of public schools within the FCT and cannot discharge such herculean tasks without arms.

The FCT Security Committee had last week introduced a Code of Conduct for vigilance groups operating in the territory, placing a ban on the use of firearms by their members.

In the new Code of Conduct, the Security Committee also prohibited them from carrying out operations without the presence of the police or the express approval of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), in their respective jurisdictions.

But the Director, of Information and Communication in the FCT, Muhammad Hazat Sule in a statement said, members of the vigilance groups are permitted to possess and use weapons for self-defence or other lawful purposes as allowed by the DPO.

These were some of the decisions reached by the FCT Security Committee at its 11th meeting presided over by the Minister, Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, held in Gwarinpa I District, Abuja.

He said, the new approved code required 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”.

Meanwhile, Bakori, noted that “our men are in posted to secure the schools in the FCT, we are in all the schools including the University of Abuja and we can’t do this without arms. The Vigilance Group of Nigeria is doing a lot behind the scene to ensure that our country is secured.

“For instance, since the US issued the terror alert, we’ve not slept, our men have been deployed all over the FCT collaborating with other security agencies. We are also present in all the states of the Federation, in the South West, our members are part of the Amotekun, in the Southeast, they are also part of Ebubeagu”.

On remuneration for the members, the CG explained that “our men are not paid a dime for the work they do, they are just volunteers who are passionate about securing their country”.

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