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As part of efforts to curb kidnapping and other violent crimes, the recruitment of about 1,700 forest guards is ongoing in Enugu, a security source within the state has said.

This was reportedly revealed by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi after he emerged from a meeting with the state lawmakers, the 17 local government council chairpersons and security heads in the state.

A security source privy to the meeting gave a breakdown of the recruitment process on Wednesday.

According to the source, ”3,963 persons applied for the job; 2,646 were shortlisted and screened; 879 persons had been engaged while the remaining 821 applicants will be screened and engaged in two weeks, bringing the total number to 1,700 Forest Guards”.

The official said the governor and other attendees resolved to make sure that the Forest Guards scheme takes a firm footing.

“Attendees were very much determined to ensure that recent security challenges in the state were tackled decisively,” he said.

He said it was agreed at the meeting that 260 vehicles should be purchased immediately for the 260 electoral wards in the state, one for each ward.

“Also agreed was the purchase of 260 motorcycles for security operations, one for each ward, including procurement of communication gadgets to facilitate optimal community policing.

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“The meeting equally resolved that a Ministry of Security Affairs should be established to coordinate various activities, intelligence gathering and interventions within the new Enugu State security architecture.”

The source noted that Enugu is the first state in the South-east geo-political zone to commence the Forest Guards operation after it was approved by the South-east Governors Forum.

Background

PREMIUM TIMES last month reported how the South-east Governors Forum resolved to set up a Security Committee and a Centre for South-east Integrated Security Monitoring/Intelligence Gathering.

The governors said the centre whose headquarters is located in Enugu is a response to the emerging security challenges in the zone.

The region comprises Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Anambra.

In recent times, the region has been battling with clashes between herdsmen and farmers.

Other major security concerns in the region which the governors are battling to contain include kidnapping, armed robbery and cultism, which have also ravaged other parts of Nigeria.

Recruitment, commendable – Methodist Prelate

In response to the recruitment, Prelate of the Methodist Church, Samuel Uche, said the initiative was commendable and a right step in the right direction.

He applauded Governor Ugwuanyi for the recruitment of the guards, whom he said will be “specially trained and equipped with arms and ammunitions to fish out miscreants in Enugu State.”

News of the recruitment process in Enugu came barely hours after the abducted Permanent Secretary of the state’s Ministry of Lands, Augustine Udeh, regained freedom.

The police spokesperson in the state, Ebere Amaraizu said the abductors ”bowed to pressure from joint operations of security operatives and released their captive”

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