The Nigerian Hunters Council, on Tuesday in Abuja urged the National Assembly (NASS) to ensure early passage of the Nigerian Hunters Bill 2020.
The Commander General of the council, Mr Joshua Osatimehin, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
According to Osatimehin, passing the bill into law would give the outfit the necessary legal backing to combat crime.
He explained that the bill had proposed to recognise the Nigerian Hunters Council as a federal security outfit that would complement the efforts of security agencies in fighting insecurity in Nigeria.
“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.
“It is geared towards enhancing the council’s efforts in rendering security services in bushes and local communities across the country.
“With headquarters in Abuja, commands in the 36 states of the federation, the FCT and volunteers who are mostly youths, NHC 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.
“There is a new approach to hunting activities; we are now hunting the bigger animals which are the bandits, kidnappers and other criminals who operate from the bushes,” he said.
The commander general noted that it was important to get the bill passed to ease the work of the hunters in providing security.
“When we go into the bushes we come in contact with these criminal elements, but we don’t have the mandate to arrest them.
“But if this bill can become a law, we don’t need to take authority from anybody to apprehend these criminals.
“If there is a legal framework backing our activities and logistics provided by the government, crime and criminality in the country will reduce,” he said.
A member of the hunters council, Anene Ogene, an Assistant Commander in charge of Forest Surveillance, said that their activities are strictly voluntary as they are not paid by the government or any organisation.
“We are Nigerians and we are youths, so we help to safeguard our bushes and the communities and this is important because this is where these criminals majorly operate from,” Ogene said.
NAN 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.