Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye, has accused Governor Yahaya Bello of setting up a Vigilante Service Group which has turned into a militia and is gradually replacing police in Kogi State.
Senator Melaye said on the floor of the Nigerian Senate on Wednesday that Governor Bello has contravened the Nigerian Constitution by allegedly signing into law the establishment of the armed vigilance group in the state.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator said what Governor Bello allegedly did amounts to the establishment of state police in Kogi.
Melaye’s motion read, “ Mr President, I bring to the Senate a law passed by the Kogi state government and signed into law by the governor of Kogi state that talks about the establishment of the Vigilante Service Group. Mr President, I have that law here, it’s already a law of the Kogi state government. By the time I perused this law, this law is in conflict with the provisions of the constitution. This law alters the functions of the Nigeria Police as stipulated in section 214 of the constitution.
“Mr President, it is a fact that state can make laws through the Houses of Assembly as enshrined in section 4 of the constitution but the law they will make must not be in conflict with the provisions of the constitution. Mr President, I seek your indulgence to read a section of the law passed by Kogi state government. It says that Vigilante Group will be involved in detection and prevention of crime, the apprehension of criminals, the preservation of law and order, the protection of lives and property. Will assist other security and para-military agencies in the discharge of their duties to assist other security agencies in government installations, to assist other security agencies in maintaining law and order in any economic, political and social gathering. There shall be a controller of Vigilante services. There is also a Deputy Controller-General.
“Mr President, the most affront on the constitution is in section 15 of that law which says the vigilante Service Group shall carry Dane guns, other guns and other light weapons that commiserate with their duties and responsibilities.”
“This is how it started in Kano, it was not contained, it started ravaging. This is how Boko Haram started, this is how Sara Suka started. The Senate will not fold our arms and close our eyes where a governor is equipping militia to wreak havoc on innocent citizens. As I speak to you, this group is already killing in every part of Kogi state. There is a record of killings in Okene, Adabi, Lokoja and this group are carrying AK-47 and pump actions openly in Kogi.
“This will now justify the reason why uniforms and hardware are imported into Nigeria. It will now justify why military weapons and gadgets were addressed as sporting equipment for the purpose of illegal importation. The laws of Kogi state shall not override the constitution.”