Home Insecurity Proliferation, excesses of vigilante groups could worsen Nigeria’s insecurity – ICG

Proliferation, excesses of vigilante groups could worsen Nigeria’s insecurity – ICG

The International Crisis Group (ICG) has warned that the proliferation and excesses of vigilante organisations could aggravate Nigeria’s security challenges if unchecked.

This warning is contained in a new published report titled ‘Managing Vigilantism in Nigeria: A Near-Term Necessity’.

The global conflict research and prevention organization observes that in recent years, Nigeria has seen a proliferation of vigilante groups fighting crime and protecting the public.

The groups range from small bands of volunteers in villages and city neighbourhoods to large structures established by state governments.

The report identifies several factors driving the emergence of more vigilante organisations.

These include widespread insecurity, decline in the ability of the police to protect communities, and diminished trust in the federal government’s commitment to protecting citizens.

These trends are driving communities and ethnic groups to devise alternative arrangements for protecting themselves”, the ICG noted.

Other factors highlighted are the rise in impunity, largely due to the inability of courts to deliver justice expeditiously, as well as high rate of unemployment.

The report acknowledged vigilante groups are filling important security gaps, endearing many citizens and state officials to them.

It also found that the majority of volunteers are hardly trained, poorly resourced and poorly supervised.

As a result, their members are prone to human rights abuses and vulnerable to capture by politicians and other elites.”

For organizations safeguarding certain regions or ethno-religious groups, ICG says their activities could later “exacerbate ethnic and communal tensions, aggravating insecurity”.

To discourage groups and communities from forming more vigilante groups, Crisis Group urged the Nigerian government to quickly rebuild confidence among the populace.

The report charged the government to implement comprehensive police reform and bolster the capacity of the judiciary to expedite justice delivery.

It further proposed some devolution of policing powers to state and local levels.

Crisis Group called on the federal and state governments to jointly develop a framework of regulations for better supervision of existing vigilante groups.

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