ABUJA — The Commander-General of the Nigerian Hunters Council (NHC), Mr. Joshua Osatimehin has appealed to Nigerians to be more vigilant and security conscious, especially during “ember” months, as efforts to tackle insecurity in the country continue.
Osatimehin who made the appeal in an interview with journalists in Abuja said Nigerians should not only rely on security agents for protection but should always be security conscious.
He noted that the internal security challenge was not a problem unique to Nigeria.
“Insecurity is everywhere but it is majorly on the roads. So, what I will advise is that if you drive some distance and you don’t see an oncoming vehicle, it may be a sign that something is happening.”
“So, you have to park and wait for some minutes to be sure nothing is happening ahead. Secondly, we Nigerians like to show off when we have money; I could be your neighbour but you don’t know what I am doing. Maybe I am a kidnapper or an agent.”
“We should not allow your neighbour to know your source of wealth or how wealthy you are.”
“And when you are invited to an occasion, you should know how you spend money, instead of spraying the notes you can dash it secretly,” he said.
He restated the importance of providing useful information to security agencies and emphasized the need for Nigerians to be proactive in responding to suspicious movements in their various communities.
Commander-General said that between January and July 2021, NHC rescued 186 kidnapped persons in the country.
Osatimehin said that the council had recorded robust synergy with other security agencies in the country in the area of training, particularly on border protection.
He maintained that the outfit is committed to fighting insurgents because the terrain is more familiar to us, but we need legal backing.
Osatimehin stressed that passing the Nigerian Hunters Bill 2020 into law would give the outfit the necessary legal backing to complement the efforts of security agencies to fight insecurity.
The objective of the bill is to develop, empower and provide gainful employment for youths and also aims to facilitate peace, volunteerism and surveillance, among others
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Olujimi Abiodun (Ekiti), was presented to the National Assembly in 2020 and has passed first and second reading in both the Senate and the House of Representatives and will soon go for the third reading.
“With headquarters in Abuja, Commands in the 36 States of the federation and the FCT and volunteers, who are mostly youths, NHC operates like a paramilitary organisation.”
A member of the Hunters council, Anene Ogene, an Assistant Commander in charge of Forest Surveillance, said that their activities were strictly voluntary to safeguard forests and communities.
“This is important because this is where these criminals majorly operate from,” Ogene said.