The Nigerian Hunters Council says it has rescued no fewer than 186 kidnapped persons across Nigeria between January and July this year.
The council has also appealed to Nigerians to be vigilant and security conscious as way of tackling the various security challenges in the country, especially during the “Ember” months.
The Commander-General of the council, Mr Joshua Osatimehin, made the appeal in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Thursday.
Osatimehin also said: “Nigerians should not solely rely on the security agencies, but they should complement their efforts, as well as always be more security conscious”.
While restating the importance of providing credible intelligence information to the security agencies, Osatimehin emphasised the need for Nigerians to be proactive in responding to suspicious movements in their various communities.
“Insecurity is everywhere, but it is more prevalent 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 that nothing is happening ahead.
“Secondly, we Nigerians we 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 informant.
“You should not allow your neighbour to know your source of wealth or how wealthy you are.
“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.
According to him, the outfit is committed to fighting banditry, kidnapping and insurgency because the terrain is more familiar to the council, but we need the legal backing”.
He stressed that internal security challenges are not peculiar to Nigeria, even as he urged Nigerians to help towards combating insecurity.
Osatimehin said “passing the Nigerian Hunters Bill 2020 into law would give the outfit the necessary legal backing to complement the efforts of security agencies in fighting insecurity.
“The bill which is sponsored by Sen. Olujimi Abiodun (Ekiti) and was presented to NASS in 2020, 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, the FCT and volunteers who are mostly youths, the council operates like a paramilitary organisation,” Osatimehin said.
He said that the council had recorded robust synergy with other security agencies in the country in the area of training, particularly on border protection.
A member of the Hunters’ Council, Anene Ogene, an assistant commander in charge of Forest Surveillance, said that their activities are strictly voluntary to safeguard forests and the communities.
“This is important because this is where these criminals majorly operate from,” Ogene said.
Our correspondent reports that the objective of the bill is to develop, empower and provide gainful employment for the youth, facilitate peace, volunteerism and surveillance, among others.