Vigilante group of Nigeria calls for internet regulatory structure to stem internet fueled crisis

The Lagos State Commandant, Vigilante Group of Nigeria, James Udomma ( left) and Mr Segun Musa, a security expert

By Oladapo Udom

Lagos – Mr James Udomma, the Lagos State Commandant, Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN),  on Thursday urged the Federal Government to establish internet regulatory structures that would help  to curb crises emanating from the platform.

Udomma, speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos,  blamed the recent  xenophobic  reprisal attacks by Nigerian youths on South African owned businesses in Nigeria on mismanaged information derived from the internet.

“The mismanagement of information from the social media is what led to the destruction of properties of South African owned businesses here in Nigeria.

“It is important that the Federal Government puts up checks and balances that will regulate the internet, especially the social media,  because of its adverse effect on the society.

“Misinformed activities happening outside the country are usually disemminated in the country through the social media.  That escalated  reactions among Nigerian youths and led some of them  to vandalise South African owned organisations,” he said.

He said that VGN members and police men were  posted  across the nation to calm angry youths  and ensured that lives and property were protected across  states.

“We did our best as a security volunteering organisation to see that the situation did not get out of hand.

“However, as a community based security, we have limited outreach,” he said.

Udomma said  VGN had sent  a bill to the National Assembly (NASS) that when passed into law would make the group a part of the security architecture of the country.

He said this was  based on the  account of the group’s past efforts  in curbing crimes  in the nation.

The commandant  also said that  VGN is an NGO who has its presence  across all the local government areas of Lagos State, and  saddled with community security.

According to him,  the VGN has been able to synchronise efforts with the police and other security agencies in the country through the exchange of information toward curbing crime in the society.

“Information is vital in curbing crimes. This   is a major aspect we play by providing information to the police and other security agencies since we are closer to the grassroots.

“The Nigerian Police Force as well as the Nigerian Army have testified at different times to  our contributions in helping to quell crises and apprehending  suspecting criminals.

“Therefore, we need the Federal Government to sign the bill  currently before the NASS into law to enable us function fully as a national security outfit.

“We also appeal to  state governments to assist us with the necessary logistics for us to be more proactive in all the 36 states of the country,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Segun Musa, a security expert said that the VGN was significant because of the  security role it had been playing at grassroots and  based on its coordinated interactions  between the public and other security agencies.

Musa said that the  VGN was usually the first responder  in an emergency before other security agencies arrive the scene.

“Security challenges brew from the community, and  if we can manage it from that community, it will not escalate.

“That is why the bill is explicit on the role of VGN that it will  further help to tackle the issues of domestic crises, protection of the pipelines, creeks, marine security, religious centres among other areas.

“This will further ensure that security is being managed from the scratch  because when crises become full blown, they are more difficult to manage,” he said.

Musa said  that the major challenge facing the VGN is that it was self-reliant and had been operating solely based on financial and other forms of assistance from  individuals  and without help from the government or any organisation.

“If we can get support from the local, state and Federal Governments, it will be easier for us to come out fully and put a deterrent in place  against crimes.

“The essence of the  VGN cannot be over emphasised because its members   are the bridge builder between the community and  other security apparatus,” he said.


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