The acting Chairman of the newly established Sokoto State Community Guards Corps, Yusha’u Kebbe, has revealed that contrary to scepticism from some quarters, all is set to ensure the smooth operation of the Corps.
Kebbe made this known in an interview published by Saturday PUNCH while speaking on efforts to build local capacity to beef up security in the state.
PUNCH reports that the Sokoto State Government recently signed into law the bill creating the Sokoto Community Guard Corps, as part of efforts to stem the tide of bandit attacks in various communities in the state.
According to the acting chairman, measures have been put in place to prevent and minimise any form of misbehaviour by the corps personnel that may pose a threat to the society they have been recruited to protect.
He said, “Yes, there is always that fear; you know we are a human organisation in which there are always bad eggs no matter how hard you try in your selection process.
“Having that in mind, we have taken some measures to ensure that as far as we can, we minimise that kind of situation. We will ensure that once they are not on any operation, all their weapons will be kept at a particular point which is the various Divisional Police offices in their local governments.
“Once they are going out for operations, they will be issued with this weapon under the command and control of the military. So with these steps we are taking, I believe we will be able to minimise such incidences from arising.
“Also, training takes a very important role in any operation, so the government is making arrangements to ensure that these people are having adequate and continuous training in all ramifications, so it will not just be these two months of training that they will do on arms handling, but the training will be a comprehensive one, like community relations, intelligence gathering and various warfare training, probably ambush operations among others.
“We hope that the various people who will give them a talk like some religious leaders talk to them about the religious aspect of this operation, we will involve a psychologist who will also address issues and assess some mental issues that might be associated with some of them, that is apart from the health and other physical assessment because we don’t want to give someone with psychology issue a weapon to handle; it may be a danger to himself and other people around him.
“So, we are looking into all these problems to make sure that by the grace of God, we minimise to the lowest possible level, incidences of accidental discharge or misdemeanours of people becoming a danger to society and things like that.”
He added that adequate machinery to check corruption among the personnel has been put in place.
“Let me break the corruption into two aspects; the issue of the greatest corruption in security is when your immediate neighbours sell out information about you to be kidnapped or even get killed in the process, or have someone’s family taken hostage simply because he knows more about you and your movement or your financial capacity.
“For such people, we are collaborating with even the DSS to fish them out and I can tell you we are getting results in that aspect. I don’t need to tell you how but I can tell you it’s paying seriously, we are getting them one by one.
“The other part of corruption is the bad eggs within the security agencies, now that they are seeing that those on the other side, both government and security agencies are going after them, my advice for them is to change. On a general note, you need to understand how this military operates, then you can talk about their materials operations”, he stated.
He also noted that none of the guards being recruited is based on political affiliation but on merit.
He affirmed that the recruitment process is credible, unbiased, and free of political input or any form of influence.
On the misconception that the corps was established as an alternative to the existing security agencies, Kebbe said, “According to the statement of the governor, while signing the Bill, this community guard corps is not to operate as an alternative to the existing federal security architecture in the state; they are just complimentary.
“So, their efforts whatever it is going to be, will be based on the direction and spearheading of the existing security architecture especially that of the military which is directly involved in the insurgency situation. Whenever they are going to work, it is going to be along with the military, Police or rather the joint task force that is already working on this insecurity in the state.”
He expressed optimism that with the establishment of the community guards, insecurity will soon become history in Sokoto state.
“Going forward, we expect to see that the security challenges in the state are being tackled, and as we have started with the existing security architecture in the state (Federal Government security agencies), we are not waiting for bandits to attack before we respond, but now chasing them into their hideouts”, he stated.