The Adamawa State Government is set to enlist the services of local hunters and vigilantes, called Civilian JTF, to liberate communities captured by the Boko Haram insurgents.
The state governor, Bala Ngilari, said this on Sunday shortly after an emergency meeting with security chiefs in the state.
He said no fewer than 10,000 members of the civilian JTF will be enlisted to help security forces push away the insurgents.
The governor who spoke through his media aide, Phileas Elisha, said 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,” he added.
According to Mr. Elisha, the Adamawa government will also train the local vigilante in order to guard against abuses, so they do not think the mandate enables them “to take laws into their hands by harassing or arresting innocent members of the society”.
“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,” he said.
Mr. Elisha also denied rumours that the local hunters and civilian JTF were asked to withdraw in an operation to oust the Boko Haram insurgents.
“It was not so. The governor had just concluded meeting with the security chiefs, what really happened is that they were asked to retreat instead of being at the frontline, with a view of an air raid by the Air Force.
“They have been helping the military tremendously, and that prompted the government to see ways of cushioning their hardship,” said Mr. Elisha.
He said that both the government and people of Adamawa have lauded the collaborative efforts of vigilante groups, hunters, and the military in combating the Boko Haram insurgency in the state, such as in the retake of Mubi from the insurgents.
Mr. Elisha said such efforts should be encouraged by communities in the North-East to curtail the activities of the insurgents.
The Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, had earlier directed commissioners of police across Nigeria to ensure adequate screening and supervision of vigilante groups, following their involvement in the fight against insurgents.