The British Council-funded two-year programme, Nigeria Policing Programme (NPP), for the Nigeria Police and sister agencies, might have come to an end but its impact still resonates around the country. The programme was aimed at enhancing officers’ understanding of democratic and community-oriented policing.
This would help the police gain communities’ trust and confidence and ensure communication flows easily between the public and the security agencies for effective tackling of crime. The programme, which started in 2018, came to an end last month.
During the exercise, the NPP focused on works, which supported the NPF and its sister agencies in the areas of accountability, community policing, resource allocation and cohesion among policing actors on safety and security issues. NPP also provided technical assistance to the NPF and others to function effectively on communication within and between security actors, effective public outreach and public advocacy. At the award ceremony in Lagos, stakeholders showered encomiums on the British Council for initiating the intervention programme, and for its positive impact on the security situation in Nigeria.
The stakeholders, civil society organisations, Nigeria Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), NPF, Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Vigilance Group of Nigeria (VGN) and the media pledged to utilise benefits of the programme in tackling insecurity challenges facing the country.
Chairman, LNSC, DIG Israel Ajao (rtd), said regular capacity-building for the police would help fight crime as expected: “This is because crime is dynamic, so also the challenges facing the force are increasing by the day. I cannot pretend that all is well with the police.
“There is the need for the police to look at themselves in-house and see if they are doing what they were employed for and doing what they were being paid to do. The challenges are increasing, but they can be surmounted.
“If we carry out capacity-building in the police, they can make positive impact on the security situation in Nigeria. NPP’s programme has helped to address some of the challenges.
“Let policing become home-grown. Community policing is relevant to our society. That is where LNSC operations come in. We cannot effectively police our society without local intelligence reports.”
Deputy team leader, NPP, Mr. Idris Bawa, said within the two-year period of the programme, remarkable achievements were recorded as the police, civil society organisations and other security agencies became united: “The programme might have come to an end, but its positive impact on the stakeholders such as police, CSOs, PCRC would see to the continuation of the programme in the state.”
Coordinator, Stakeholders’ Police Accountability Forum (SPAF), Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma, said the programme increased the capacity of the police, CSOs, media and community leaders: “Prior to NPP, the police and CSOs were always seeing each other as enemies, this has changed for the better now.”
He said what the police, CSOs, community leaders and other security agencies learnt from NPP would help to combat security challenges in Nigeria, Lagos in particular.
South-West coordinator of the NHRC, Mr. Lucas Konyejo, was of the view that the programme brought many good things to the country’s security situation.
A retired British police officer, Paul Morisetti, who was the lead trainer for the NPP, said the programme was to fill noticeable gaps in service delivery by police officers, while the trained officers would adapt and replicate the trainings to suit the policing demands of their respective states, divisions and stations.
Some police officers and stakeholders were recognised and honoured for their contributions to the success of the programme. Among them were Ajao, ex -Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, the Divisional Police Officers in charge of Igando, Isolo and Anthony, Taiwo Kasunmu, Folorunsho Gabriel and Pat Hamdin, respectively.
Other awardees were state chairman of PCRC, Apostle Kehinde Sowemimo and officer in charge of Community Policing, Olutoyin Omomobe.