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Proscribed Nasarawa vigilantes surrender uniforms to police

The Nasarawa State Police Command announced on Sunday that it had received 267 uniforms, 564 berets, and other materials from the proscribed Kungiya Zaman Lafia, a nomad vigilantes’ group.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Ramhan Nansel, made this known in a statement on Sunday in Lafia. The PPRO stated that the vigilante group complied with Executive Order 1, 2024, signed last Tuesday by Governor Abdullahi Sule, proscribing ethnic vigilance groups and similar organizations in the state. He mentioned that the order directed all proscribed groups to hand over all uniforms and other kits in their possession to the police within two weeks from the day the executive order was issued.

The police spokesperson stated that the police received 267 pairs of uniforms, 102 pieces of black belts, and 189 pieces of infantry lanyards from the group. According to the PPRO, other items the command received from the group included 564 black berets, 339 pieces of black and white lanyards, and two identification cards. Nansel quoted the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umar Nadada, as urging the Eggon Vigilante, Bassa Vigilante, and other proscribed groups to comply with the executive order before the expiration of the ultimatum. He stated that the police would ensure total enforcement of the order.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Sule of Nasarawa State issued the executive order on April 15. Signing the executive order in Lafia, Sule gave members of the Kungiwar Zaman Lafiya Nomad Vigilante, Bassa Vigilante, Eggon Vigilante, and other similar organizations operating in the state two weeks to hand over all their weapons and uniforms to the Commissioner of Police.

The governor said he acted on the advice of the State Security Council, adding that the executive order was signed in the exercise of his power under Section 97(A) of the Penal Code.

“The Nomad Vigilante and other ethnic vigilante groups are hereby proscribed and declared unlawful societies dangerous to the good governance of the state,” Sule declared. “The order may be cited as the Penal Code and Proscription of Nomad Vigilante and other similar Organizations Order, 2024 and shall be deemed to have come into operation on April 15, 2024,” he said.

The Executive Order No. 1 of 2024 banned “any association, movement, or group of persons or society in whatever name called or form, with the aim and objectives of providing security amongst particular ethnic groups within Nasarawa through the use of force or arms, etc.”

“Accordingly, the Kungiyar Zaman Lafiya nomad vigilante, Bassa vigilante, Eggon vigilante, and other similar organizations are, henceforth, proscribed and declared unlawful societies that are inimical to good governance in the state,” Sule said.

The executive order by Sule comes amid the trial of the President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Bello Bodejo, on terrorism charges in connection with the launch of an ethnic militia group, Kungiya Zaman Lafiya. Bodejo was arrested by the Department of State Services on January 23 at the Miyetti Allah’s office in the Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

His arrest came days after he launched a 1,144-man Nomad Volunteer Vigilante Group, which, he said, was “to fight against banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, and all forms of insecurity in Nasarawa State.”

While Bodejo claimed that he formed the vigilance group on the instruction of the state governor, the governor and the police denied knowledge of the group. The Federal Government on March 22 arraigned Bodejo on terrorism charges before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

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