The Anambra Vigilance Group (AVG) says it is complying with the directive of the police for members to turn in unlicensed fire arms in their possession.
CP Ikechukwu Aduba (rtd), Chairman of the Anambra Vigilance Advisory Council, said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Friday.
NAN reports that Mr Umar Garba, Commissioner of Police in Anambra, had on March 1, directed unauthorised residents including vigilance groups to surrender unlicensed arms in their possession to the Police.
Umar listed the category of arms under reference to include machine guns, pistols, military rifles, revolvers, and pump-action gun.
Others were artillery, apparatus for the discharge of any explosives of gas diffusion projectiles, rocket weapons, bombs and grenades.
Aduba, who is also the Special adviser to Gov. Willie Obiano on Vigilance, said the directive was an order of government which must be obeyed.
He said he had already directed his members who were in possession of the arms under the listed categories to turn them in and would soon commence a tour of the state to spread the message.
The Vigilance boss the group would also assist the Police in the disarmament process to prevent arms build-up in Anambra.
He said that the group would rely on those with licensed double barrel shortgun, pot guns and unarmed combat for its operations.
“Mopping up is on and we have equally advised our members who have such arms to surrender it to the Police in line with directive of the CP.
He, however, gave an assurance that the disarmament programme would not dampen the effectiveness of the vigilance group due to the collaboration between the group and other security agencies in the state.
On his part, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, the Chairman of Ogilisi Foundation, said that instead of disarming vigilance groups, the police should regulate them and device more proactive ways of crime fighting.
Ezeonwuka argued that the double barrel guns which was meant for hunting could not compare with the sophistication of criminals of this age.
“The order by the Police boss to mop up illegal firearms in Anambra is a security measure which is acceptable to all and I commend the I-G for that.
“The issue of restricting local vigilance groups to the use of only double barrel guns is not enough, considering the fact that armed robbers, kidnappers and trigger-hungry herdsmen parade with highly sophisticated weapons,” he said.