Commander of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria, VGN, Lagos chapter, Olusola Olawale, last night explained to the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, western Nigeria, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, and other members of the House how the police often frustrate his men in the fight to rid the state of armed robbery and other criminal activities.
Olawale accused the police of releasing criminal suspects handed over to them by his men thereby putting officers of the VGN at serious risk.
He said after their release, these suspected criminals go after the VGN members who handed them over to the police, killing some and maiming others.
To buttress his points, he presented gory photographs of the killing of some of his men by these released criminals, some of whom he said were still walking freely on the streets.
In one of such photographs seen by our correspondent, the naked body of a member of the group was found in a bush with his head, hands and legs cut off. The commandant said the VGN had been hit by seven of such incidents in the past one year.
Olawale, who led over 60 of the 10,000 officers of his para-military organisation in the state to the House on a courtesy call, recalled that it was the men of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria in the western Nigeria state of Ogun who rescued the wife of the Osun state Speaker from her abductors, but lamented: “in Lagos State, we have been trying to curb crimes but there is no enabling law to support our operations.
“So whoever we arrest, we hand over to the police, but to our greatest surprise, after handing them over, the police release these armed robbers by ways we do not know. And when they come out, they begin to attack our members.
“We have lost about seven members from last year to this time and we have their photographs with us.”
He recalled how his men had been able to reduce ritual killings in the Oko-efo area of Iba Local Council Development Area saying the then chairman of the council, Toyin Suarau, gave the command a vehicle with which they always paraded the area.
As big as the command is, it only has three vehicles two of which are not in good shape. Well-meaning individuals in the state have been supporting the group, but in most cases, the officers task themselves to keep the organisation going.
He said officers of the VGN act like state police since they know the grassroots unlike the government police who are transferred to areas they hardly know much about.
He therefore appealed to the Speaker for assistance from the state Assembly saying some states governments have been encouraging men of the CGN in such states.