Borno Govt. to train 5,000 ‘civilian JTF’ by 2015

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The state government will train the local vigilante to change their perception, and guard against abuses.

The Borno state government will train at least 5,000 persons by 2015 as members of the local vigilante, known as the Civilian JTF, which has helped security forces in pushing back the Islamist sect, Boko Haram.

The Deputy Governor of Borno, Zannah Mustapha, said 700 members of the group have just completed their course, and another 1,000 will begin a new round of training by November. The effort will continue with a total target of 5,000 by 2015.

He said the training was necessary to change the perception of the members and instil discipline in them, amid reports of abuse among members of the civilian group.

“Government decided to introduce a reorientation course for members of the group to change their perception and instil discipline in them,” the deputy government said on Monday.

“The first batch of trainees comprising 700 civilian JTF had just concluded their course and hopefully by next month another group of 1,000 will begin training,’’ he said.

Mr Mustapha said that the object was to sanitise the operation of the civilian JTF as well as instil patriotism in them.

“We are hoping to train 5,000 members of the group before the end of 2015.’’

Mr Mustapha cautioned members of the vigilante group against taking laws into their hands. The deputy governor said the state government was concerned about the operations of some members of the vigilante group.

Mr Mustapha made this known when he addressed newsmen in Maiduguri on reports of alleged actions of some members of the group.

“The main duty of the civilian JTF is to assist law enforcement agencies in their job of providing security to the society; that is why they sometimes join the military at the check points”.

“This does not give them a licence to take laws into their hands by harassing or arresting innocent members of the society,’’ he said.

Mr Mustapha said it was only law enforcement agencies that had the power to arrest or detain suspected criminals or Boko Haram militants.

“People should note that it is only law enforcement agencies like soldiers or policemen who have the power to arrest or detain suspected criminals like Boko Haram sect members or robbers.

“The idea of the civilian JTF trying to take laws into their hands by acting alone is wrong. This must stop now,’’ he said