By: Prudence Okonna & Sunday Shekwonya
As part of measures to ensure the safety of lives and properties in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), particularly in the rural communities, the Abuja Original Inhabitants Youth Empowerment Organization (AOIYEO) has called on the government to equip Vigilante groups to adequately secure their communities.
AOIYEO said equipping the Vigilante groups with resources and tools of operation would deepen the security architecture in these communities, threatened by pockets of criminals.
These were part of the submissions made at a stakeholders’ consultative meeting held Wednesday, in Abuja.
The Executive Director, AOIYEO, Commandant Isaac David, lamented that the issues of insecurity had heightened over the past few years leading to the displacement of some communities from their ancestral lands.
He noted that, one of the reason for the meeting is to create strategies and tools of awareness on some of the challenges as Original Inhabitants, especially in communities where there are cases of kidnapping, farmer-herder clashes, killings and intimidation of community members.
David, therefore, called for the establishment of a security Trust Fund that would cater to equipping vigilantes adequately to combat criminal elements, bandits or terrorists alike.
The AOIYEO boss also reiterated that Original Inhabitants would continually seek to demand for their rights, especially as it concerns inadequate Political representation of his people, which has led to their marginalization in many quarters.
Also speaking, the FCT Commissioner Public Complaint Commission (PCC), Ezekiel Dalhatu, while throwing his weight behind AOIYEO, affirmed that the PCC is ready to support original Inhabitants in the course of their struggle.
He added that partnership is important to advance the course of their struggle and enjoined AOIYEO to maximize every legal instrument possible to submit their issues of marginalization.
Dalhatu, explained that community policing was the way to go in tackling issues of insecurity in rural areas headlong; adding that the Vigilantes who are mostly members of same communities understands the terrain better.
The PCC commissioner also called on the government to carry along Youth representatives across the FCT in the regular security meetings, as this would assuage security challenges in the rural communities.
Presenting AOIYEO’s Constitutions and Bye Laws, which would serve as the Official Documents of the FCT Stakeholders Assembly, (FSA), Professor of Mass Communication, Nassarawa State University, Anthony Igyuve said it was imperative to have a working document to guide the stakeholders in their future deliberations.
Anthony added that the journey to reclaiming their rights is not a sprint but a long distance and explained that the document advocates inclusiveness as every group in the FCT is factored in.
The stakeholder’s consultative meeting brought together stakeholders from Youth groups like FCT-Youth Network, members of Civil Society Organizations as well as government representatives to deliberate on Development of plans and strategies for functionaries, political structure and security of communities for the original inhabitants in the FCT.