Mr Olarenwaju Nureni is the Ogun State Commandant of Vigilante group of Nigeria, since he assumed office, he has achieved a lot, one of it is apprehension of about 5,000 criminals in Ogun State and many more. In his chance interview with Jide Osoba, the VGN boss speaks on the next plan in total tackling of criminals in Ogun State. Enjoy…
Can we meet you sir?
I am Mr Olarenwaju Nureni. I am the Ogun State Commandant of Vigilante group of Nigeria
Can you tell us about your education?
I started my education at Abeokuta local government primary school now known as Kudirat Abiola Primary school. From there, I attended Macjob secondary school where I sat for my WAEC. I then proceeded to Moshood Abiola Polytechnic where I had my National Diploma in the field of accounting. I did not stop reading so I went to crescent university for my BSC in accounting. I also have PGD in criminology and security studies from National Open University and I also did masters degree in Crescent university. Then I latter went back to National Open University to do my masters degree in conflict study and conflict resolution. However, I am currently undergoing my PHD programme at Southern University in the field of Criminology and Security Studies. I am also a professional student of the Institute of Chartered Accountant where I had my AAT and I am writing my ACM.
How can you describe your upbringing?
I was born into Adedoyin’s family of Pa Sunmonu of ages in Labuta compound at Totoro, Owu, Abeokuta. I was trained by my parents. I gave God the glory that I was able to go the way I was trained
With all your qualifications, why VGN?
(Laughs) I always love to protect lives and properties. I am always happy when people can sleep with their two eyes closed. I love mataining peace in the community, that is why we do advise criminals to stay away from our environment. Ogun State vigilante is working towards the level that ”people will open their doors and go far away without the fear of being robbed”
How do you become Ogun State VGN commandant?
I have passion for just one thing and that’s is the people in my vicinity sleep without fear of being attacked. I have vision if environment where will be no fear of intimidation and harassment. I thought of it many times and I discovered that the only way to do that is to form a vigilante through which we will be able to provide securities for our people, where ever they live. We always make sure we have adequate security and to ensure that our areas are safe. This vision made me came about Vigilante Group of Nigeria in 2017 and I so much love it. I joined the organization and started as a unit commander in Adigbe. I was later promoted to be the administrative officer for Obafemi Local government. Before we know it, I have risen to the position of state police intelligence. I was later appointed as the State Commandant of VGN in Ogun.
What do you do in VGN?
The Vigilante Group of Nigeria came into existence and was registered precisely in year 1999. We have a lot of people running-round to ensure that vigilante spread across the country because it started in the North, Kaduna precisely, but, the national headquarter was moved to Abuja. The pioneers of vigilante in Ogun state are Alhaji Ologundudu Fatai and late Shonoiki.
What are the challenges facing VGN in the state?
We have a lot of challenges. we are not mobile, we don’t have patrol vehicle because the government are not financing us. We are calling on the government to come to our aid to supply us with working equipment, as well as patrol vehicles. We are also soliciting for subvention to enable us pay our some of our officers who are working to make sure that there is peace in Ogun State, they will be happy to do the work if they receive remuneration. We are having challenges of legal backing, if we don’t have legal backing, we may face challenges like non respect from the public especially people who are hoodlums, but, pretending not to be so. We really need legal backing for our operation so we continue to be of international standard. VGN is not only in Nigeria, we have it in China, England. So, why not promote this one as well to become of international standard.
How have you been funding yourself without the help of the government?
We have been funding ourselves through voluntary donations from our members. Some of us took this job as full time, we don’t have any other business. Security is everybody’s concern, not every body’s business. Though, some people will say it is everybody’s business, but, we criminologists believed that it is everybody’s concern. Those who have taken this job as partime always support us financially and we also get funds through sales of forms. We also generate money from Issuing of ID cards, just to make sure we are administrative okay. But, when we talk of the larger people in this VGN, there is nothing for them and that is why we are calling on the present administration to come to our aid to do the needful.
What are your achievement so far?
Our achievement are numerous, if I start listing, we will not leave here in time. In Yewa, about two years ago, a lady was abducted and cut into two by a kidnapper and some of her intestine and private part were removed. When the parent couldn’t find her, she contacted our commandant in Ipokia local government, they swung into action and the perpetrators were arrested and the body was recovered from a well. The perpetrators were handed to the police men. Another one happened around Odogbolu local government, where a man killed another man and then kept the corpse in a bag. The wife of the man was looking for her husband. She reported to us, we swung into action, arrested the kidnapper and handed him to Ogun State police men. Also, when kidnapping was on a high side, our men formed a very strategic team to deal with it, we patrol around Ibara Orile, Igbo Ora road. ”Since I became the commandants, we have apprehended 5,000 criminals”.
What are the issues with state policing in Ogun?
There is nothing with merit without demerit, there is nothing in life that has good effect without bad. This lies on the federal government. If there is a problem, we all know that there is a problem. It is issue of insecurity, and if there is a problem, I believe there are stages through which we solve problems. Those stages must be followed empirically, we may at the end of the day adopt solution that will even compound the problems at times. In order to avoid that, we must follow problem solving stages that we already know. I believe the Federal government has taken the bull by the horn, by finding a lasting solution to insecurity we are facing in the country. As part of efforts to put an end to insecurity, federal government has inaugurated a 14 man panel to see how community policing can be set up, but, I know that community policing will be better if the federal government can take it seriously.
What is the level of security in communities in Ogun State?
Relatively security in Ogun is okay. We vigilante believe in something, we don’t believe in action that commit a crime, we believe in total absence of criminalities. That is why you see us moving from one place to another so as to tackle insecurity across the state. We enlighten and sensitize member of the public to avoid crimes. We don’t use to feel good when we see a criminal being punished and the way they lock them up. We have human feelings, we don’t believe in people committing crimes. Our real work is when people are not involved into crimes.
How have you been able to checkmate the clash between herdsmen and Farmer’s clashes in Ogun?
If you look at Igbo Ora road from where we have boundary with Oyo State, we have detached our vigilante men to Imeko axis because that is the area people believe the herdsmen rear their cattle. Since we have done that, we have not heard any record of rift between the farmers and herdsmen. At times we hold meeting with fulanis herdsmen, some of them even work as our informant, and we do enlighten them on the need to accommodate the farmers on how to prevent their cattle from eating farm produce. So, we don’t have issue of herdsmen in Ogun State again, it has come down to the bearest minimum in the state.
What is your relationship with other security agencies?
Very good, we have a cordial relationship with all security agencies not only in Ogun state but across the country. I used to tell people that Nigeria police force is the mother of all internal security agencies, we have very good partnership with all security agencies. What happened in December 2016 can attest to this. During our public hearing on the bill seeking to establish VGN as federal government agency, all these agencies were present, they have to contribute their own quota. Nigerian police was in attendance represented by the chief superintendent in charge of legal matter, Nigerian army was represented, security and civil defense corps was represented and other agencies like that. They gave a very good recommendations on our organization which showed that we have been working with them. It showed that they know us as one of them.
Does the last administration support you in community policing?
No, the past administration didn’t not help us, they didn’t finance us. On several occasions, we wrote letters to them but they didn’t reply us. However, security is relatively okay, although, there are minor problems in the State and we have been able to deal with them in collaboration with DSS and the police.
What should do you expect from this administration?
We have already written to our amiable governor , Prince Dapo Abiodun. We have written our 7-point agenda which will work with his administration. You know in Ogun State here, we know and believe in him, we know he is going to read our letter and he is going to recognise us, because our work has been established. From what we know about him, the present governor is not a sectional governor, and he is a kind of governor that believes in all. He is a business tycoon, so he knows everything about administration. I believe he will work with us and we will work with him and as a result of that security in Ogun State will be geared up further.
How do you train your officers in tackling insecurities in Ogun State?
Like i said that security is everybody’s concern, we so much dwell on the police for training of our personnel because that is the father and mother of all other internal security agencies. We train them in police colleges, we train them in federal government facilities like the citizenship and leadership
training center. Now, we had taken our senior officers there for training, we have trained them in so many places even with DSS.