A civic advocacy group, Enugu for All, has denounced reports on social media accusing Neighbourhood Watch Associations in Enugu State of indulging in illegal actions and taking over the duties of the police.
It also described as false, allegations that members of the security association had played a partisan role in last month’s local government elections in the state and carried out violent attacks on some voters.
Describing the allegations as “unpatriotic and misguided”, the group’s president, Chief Damian Mba, said members of the Neighbourhood Watch have always operated within the ambit of the enabling law since their creation by the Chimaroke Nnamani administration, noting that the seamless collaboration they have enjoyed with the police is a sufficient proof.
“Such claims are wicked lies concocted by desperate politicians out to rubbish an election adjudged free and fair by several credible election monitors and 37 political parties out of the 40 that took part in that election,” he said, adding that the trust enjoyed by members of the association in communities across the state derives largely from the fact the government does not tele-guide their operations.
He stated in the press statement issued at the weekend that the prevailing peace and security in the state, which have led even unbiased observers lately to pronounce Enugu as one of the most peaceful and secure states in Nigeria are further testaments to the critical role played by the Neighbourhood Watch.
Chief Mba also faulted The Patriots’ call for the outright ban of Neighbourhood Watch associations on the grounds that doing so will result in chaos. “This is nothing but an evil plan to disrupt the enduring peace and security in the state. It’s not true that members of this local vigilante associations have taken over the functions of the police; they simply complement their roles,” he said, pointing out that members of The Patriots should state their grievance in the open and not hide in the shadows to circulate mischievous phone messages.
According to him, the members would prove they are not merely a faceless group pursuing a selfish agenda if they came out in the open.