Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
The battle against crime in Nigeria received further impetus in Anambra State recently when the Crime Prevention Campaign of Nigeria (CPCN) held a crime sensitisation workshop and inducted new advisers and members.
Okija community in Ihiala Local Government Area, Anambra State, which hosted the ceremony, witnessed the presence of the police, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) officials, community leaders, vigilance groups and youth bodies who all gathered to brainstorm and recommit towards crime prevention and community good.
CPCN is a security support service organisation committed to supporting and working in tandem with the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies to bring about a crime-free society through intelligence gathering and crime sensitisation.
Welcoming participants to the gathering, director of the group in the state, Alphonsus Chukwuemeka Madubueze, said the CPCN was an offshoot of the National Workshop on Crime Prevention and Control, organised by the Federal Government in May 1996 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
He recalled that the Anambra State Chapter of CPCN had, in keeping with the mandate, organised a one-day community crime sensitisation workshop for all the 177 communities in Anambra State in December 2011, where the Nigeria Police, army, FRSC and other security agencies participated and delivered separate lectures to the participants.
He said the programme was also extended to all the churches in Anambra State, with emphasis on security awareness and crime prevention strategies in 2016. Markets and traders in the state have also benefitted from the same project, he said.
Noting that the awareness programme was tasking, capital-intensive and daunting in all ramifications, he said the organisation has kept on scouting for people of like minds who would not only live out the true meaning of its creed but also take the message home to their localities and win more converts.
The director said the seminar was being hosted in Okija community so that people of the area could be sensitised on the message. He said the CPCN had also identified out some illustrious sons of Okija, including Chief Jerome Obidiaso, Felix Ugwumadu, a lawyer, and Chief Epunam Peter Celestine. He said it was the people’s proficiency and contributions towards the security and development of humanity that attracted CPCN to honour them as advisers on operations, legal matters and surveillance, respectively.
He appreciated the area commander of Ihiala Police Area Command and the unit commander, FRSC, Ihiala, for being a part of the project. He also said the CPCN, Anambra State chapter, was embarking on a N5 million crime sensitisation project throughout the 21 local government areas of the state and solicited the support of the public towards realising the project.
Chief Superintendent of Police Uchenna Anionwe, who represented the area commander in charge of Ihiala, said crime prevention entailed all actions one could take to ensure that crime did not happen. He described crime prevention and proactive security measures as the best method instead of reactive security, which connotes actions taken when the crime has been committed already.
He also described crime as any act of omission that renders the person committing the act liable to punishment under the law. He explained the participants the techniques of crime prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution.
Anionwe said one of the strategies to adopt in crime prevention was intelligence-led crime prevention strategies, which involve information gathering and sharing through the cultivation of informants that could give genuine information to security agents. He stressed that the security agents were not omniscient angels or spirits.
The acting unit commander, FRSC, Ihiala Unit, Danladi Idris, called for more public-spirited individuals from various communities who would spend their time and finances towards crime prevention. He reiterated the fact that crime fighting or prevention was a job for all members of society and not restricted to the security agencies alone.
For the decorated officials of the CPCN, it was a call to duty. Obidiaso, an engineer, said he would contribute his quota in crime prevention. He said, having been a member of the Police Community Relations Committee, his induction as adviser, operations, CPCN, was progress towards helping in ensuring a better and secure life for members of his community.
On his part, Ugwumadu noted that, as a legal practitioner, he had given his commitment that he would give back to society by ensuring that community policing, crime prevention and harmonious co-existence were enshrined in the community.
Epunam Peter noted that community policing was needed in Nigeria. He said policemen posted to some areas very strange to them might not even be able to communicate with members of the public in such areas because of language barriers. He promised to devote his time and energy towards crime prevention, with much emphasis on his community.