By Demola Akinyemi
Former Inspectors General of Police, IGPs, in Nigeria have begun sensitisation of stakeholders across the six geo-political zones of the nation on the implementation of community policing in the country in order to effectively tackle the rising problems of insecurity in Nigeria.
Vanguard reliably gathered that the former IGPs were said to have expressed concerns over the dangerous dimension the insecurity in the country had taken and came up with the agenda of community policing in their meetings with the IGP, Adamu Mohammed.
Consequently, two former Inspectors General of Police, Tafa Balogun, Aliyu Ibrahim Attah and Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State addressed stakeholders, including traditional rulers, civil society organisations, among others, yesterday in Ilorin on community policing.
Speaking at the forum, Governor AbdulRazaq reiterated his support for community policing which he described as long over due to strengthen security of lives and properties.
He stressed the need for traditional rulers to be accorded constitutional roles, since they were the closest to the grassroots and better legally engaged with certain things related to the masses.
He said: “I have always said that the traditional rulers are the fourth tier of government, their duties encompass all we do in our society.
“We have always been grateful to them because I receive calls daily from them on security issues, not just giving information but also curbing civil disturbances like we recently had in Ilesha Baruba.
‘’In that community, there was a civil disturbance earlier and the Emir single-handedly calmed the situation and ensured that the community is safe. We deeply appreciate what he did.
“In the last meeting of Northern governors held in Kaduna, there was the idea that the roles of the traditional rulers should be amplified and embedded into the constitution. This means we should give them constitutional roles in the society. That is an ongoing process, and I am a supporter of this initiative.”
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On his support for community policing, he said: “Community policing is an idea that is long overdue. It helps to localise policing, brings security architecture closer to the grassroots, and gets a more robust buy-in of the people. It relies almost entirely on local intelligence and constant interactions with community folks to succeed.
“However, it is important to state that the success of community policing depends on all of us seeing it as our baby that must be nurtured to success.
“I therefore urge every stakeholder to support the initiative. As an administration, we are wholeheartedly committed to community policing and will continue to mobilise public support for it.”
Speaking on the occasion, former IGP Chief Tafa Balogun, said: “The situation of insecurity in the country has called for the sensitisation on community policing by retired IGPs, with a view to stemming criminals activities in the country.
“The former Inspectors General of Police decided to convene a meeting at the office of the Inspector General of Police , Mr. Muhammed Adamu, in Abuja in October last year on the need to offer advice on the need to stem the reported cases of banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, among others.
“Since the federal government has put in place a community policing strategy to address the issue, it behoves on us as former Inspectors General of Police to come out of our shell and be part of the move in order to support the efforts through enlightenment programme on community policing in the country.”
“We don’t have another country and we decided to bring this enlightenment programme to all members of the public to enable them know that the war against all these challenges remains our priority and this is what brought us to this gathering in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, for the north central enlightenment programme on community policing.’’
Balogun, who said his administration as Inspector General of Police started community policing between 2003 and 2005, said the non-continuation of such policy has affected the progress that would have been made in community policing.
He noted that the country has to take a cue from the western world that relied on community policing to stem insecurity.
He said all efforts should be put in place by the government to support the policy with adequate funding, training and equipping the police in order to achieve expected results on community policing in the country.
Balogun, however, called on the people of the north central zone to join hands with the federal government in its bid to ensure community policing is enshrined in the zone.
Corroborating the views of Chief Balogun, another former IGP, Alhaji Aliyu Ibrahim Attah, who delivered a lecture on the sensitisation programme, entitled “Relevance of Community Policing in Nigeria,’’ said the community policing policy was perfect and well thought out.
He said government should evolve a remuneration plan for the people that would work on the policy to enable them commit themselves to the service.
Attah, while explaining the relevance of community policing, said: “The existing system of policing had been grossly criticized because of its capacity to deliver due to low number of personnel to cover the large space of its populace.
“Due to the federal government’s inability to fully fund all the activities of the police force adequately, there is need for partnership in raising sufficient funds for its operations.
“When there is community policing, nobody will complain of non-indigene coming into the community to support the activities of miscreants to destroy their homelands.”