The Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven, OPSH, keeping peace in Plateau and parts of Kaduna and Bauchi States, has trained 103 youths on armed combat and intelligence gathering.
The training is part of efforts by the military, aimed at tackling insecurity in southern parts of Kaduna State.
The graduation ceremony of the trainees took place at the OPSH Sector 7 Command in Kafanchan in the Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Speaking at the event on Saturday, the Commander of the Sector, Col. Timothy Opurum, said the formation and training of the civilians was informed by the displacement of some communities by bandits in 2021.
“What brought about this training is the displacement of people living in Jankasa and Kachechere villages under Ungwan Gaya District.
“When I took over, I discovered that there were no people living in those areas because of an incident that happened in that place last year.
“Based on that, I drew these youths from among all the indigenes that had been displaced from that place and gave them basic training.
“This is to enable the people to retake their lands, especially as we are approaching a new farming season.”
Mr Opurum noted that the issue of security is a collective responsibility, hence the necessity for locals to be involved in the fight against crime.
“Security is everybody’s business and no one individual organisation can have monopoly in ensuring security.
“It is on that basis we felt that there is the need to carry the community along in creating a secure environment for socio-economic development.
“We may not completely eliminate crime but if we work together we will be able to reduce crime to the barest minimum,” he said
According to him, the civilian joint task force comprises youths selected from different ethnic groups and religious bodies.
Members of the civilian joint task force will work together under the control and supervision of the command.
Mr Opurum said the joint civilian task force was named Coalition of Vigilantes Network and will work in synergy with other existing vigilante groups to achieve a common goal.
“Other vigilantes in existence are doing their best, but there seems to be something missing and that thing missing is synergy.
“I am trying to synergise and bring all the vigilante groups together, including all the legions and hunters,” he stated
He thanked the Commander of OPSH, Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Ali, for his support toward the success of the exercise.
In his remarks, Amos Gwamna, member representing Jaba/Zango Kataf Federal Constituency, commended the military for its relentless efforts towards ensuring sustainable and peaceful co-existence in southern Kaduna.
Mr Gwamna also commended the youth for their selfless service to their fatherland in the quest for peace.
The lawmaker, however, advised them against allowing themselves to be used as political thugs for selfish interests.