The South-East Governors have adopted the Federal Government community policing initiative meant to pragmatically involve community dwellers in security affairs.
The Chairman of South-East Governor’s Forum, Governor David Nweze Umahi, made this known in a communiqué reached by the Governors at the South-East Geo-political Zone Security Summit held in Enugu.
Umahi noted that in reaching the agreement, the forum took cognisance of the various grassroots security outfits such as the Operation ‘Kpochapu’, forests guard, vigilante group and neighbourhood watch already in existence in the zone that operates closely to the model of community policing.
He said, “The state governors have accepted and adopted community policing in bringing policing closer to the grassroots.
“Each state will mandate and ensure that community policing committee made up of traditional rulers, religious leaders and so on will be established in each community to be in-charge of the recruitment of personnel and monitor security developments in the various communities where they exist”.
The chairman said that the governors had also resolved to improve the capacity of their various community policing security outfits and in synergy with the Nigerian police undertake periodic security raids.
He noted that the governors had agreed to share intelligence and information on security as well as provide adequate job and skill engagement for their teeming youths.
According to him, “there will be quarterly meeting among the governors to review the entire security situation and ensure smooth workability of the initiative through partnership with police”.
Complexity of crime
Earlier, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, noted that he had instituted the geo-political zone security summit due to the increasing complexity of crime and the challenges of policing the country.
Adamu said that the meeting would engender public trust, consent and partnership upon which the foundation of policing rest.
“The attainment of this objective requires the adoption of citizens-driven pathways for the purposes of identifying, dissecting and prioritizing security threats, and working together to evolve strategies directed at tackling these threats. This essentially is the purpose of this summit.
“The community policing model being envisioned for Nigeria under the current dispensation is one that will draw on the legal opportunities provided by the Police Act for the engagement of Special Constables. Who in this instance, will be engaged as community policing officers under the coordination of the Nigerian Police” he said.
The Archbishop of the Anglican Archdiocese of Enugu, Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, who spoke on behalf of the clergymen in the zone, urged Federal Government to redouble its effort in reducing insecurity especially kidnapping and the farmers/herders clashes within the zone.
Archbishop Chukwuma also urged the police to reduce the number of policemen guarding wealthy and influential people within the zone.
The Chairman of Enugu State Traditional Rulers’ Council Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu, who spoke on behalf of the South-East traditional rulers, gave the assurance that traditional rulers would “fully support’’ the community policing initiative.
Agubuzu noted that traditional rulers would support the governors and legislators to ensure that the initiative work in each community.
The President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who had initially walked out of the summit but returned afterwards, lauded the Police boss and the Federal Government for the initiative.
He said “I want the police to work hard to beef-up its trust and confidence among the people of the zone.
“You must review the number of check-points in the zone, which has turned to tollgates and it is angering the people of the zone.
“I will also continue to complain of the continuous destruction of farmlands by cattle and herdsmen that move about with AK 47 in our farmlands’’ he said.
Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State thanked the IGP for the summit, adding that the state government would continue to support the Federal Government move in repositioning security nationwide.