The Borno State government on Saturday, inducted a total of 2,900 youth volunteer force as members of a newly created Neighbourhood Watch, whose role includes sniffing out drug abusers and perpetrators of other related crimes.
The Neighbourhood Watch (N-Watch) is a replica of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) that came into force in 2013 as a volunteer group helping the military to combat Boko Haram.
Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, said the N-Watch will also compliment the existing synergy between the CJTF and the military in guarding communities against infiltration of Boko Haram and also in combating societal vices like drugs abuses.
Mr Shettima, who spoke during the launching of the new security outfit said the 2,900 youths would be deployed to the 27 wards within the two local government areas of Maiduguri and Jere, forms the state capital.
The governor said the formation of N-Watch is part of his community policing initiatives which he said has yielded positive result in the past when it was tested with the Civilian-JTF.
“Since the establishment of the Civilian-JTF there has been a tremendous improvement in the relationship between the civilian populace and the armed forces which use to be very frosty,” the governor said.
“I want to pay tribute to all our gallant officers and men who have paid the supreme sacrifices for us to have peace in this part of the world” he said, adding that the tribute also was for CJTF, many of whom have died, paying the far reaching sacrifice for the state to have peace.
“The current set of Neighbourhood Watchers are backed by the law and we will deploy them to their immediate neighbourhoods to safeguard lives and properties and also to ensure the issues of drugs abuse are addressed frontally”.
He called on the youth to exercise utmost caution and avoid taking laws into their hands while discharging their responsibility.
“Any perpetrator arrested by the N-Watchers are to be handed over to the nearest police station for onward prosecution”, he said.
Earlier, the Attorney General and commissioner for Justice, Kaka Shehu Lawan a Barrister, whose office coordinates the activities of all volunteer security outfits in the state, said the N-Watch is duly backed by a legislation from the state House of Assembly.
He said the roles of the neighbourhood watch isn’t that different from that of the existing Civilian-JTF.