From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Worried by the growing rate of insecurity in the state, the Delta Online Publishers’ Forum (DOPF) has urged the state government to activate the state Community Security Corps Act, 2020.
In the last month, hoodlums attacked no fewer than three police formations in the state, killing at least seven officers, burning police stations and patrol vans.
In a letter addressed to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, DOPF insists that activation of the Delta State Community Security Corps Act would help in curbing the rising insecurity.
Jointly signed by its Chairman, Emma Enebeli, and Secretary Shedrack Onitsha, the letter stated that the flag-off of Operation Delta Hawk has not done much, with its operation restricted to Asaba, Agbor and Warri.
In the 13-paragraph letter, DOPF pointed out that the community security corps law sought the direct involvement of community stakeholders in security activities within their domains.
The letter stated that the delay in its implementation was defeating the good intention, insisting that it was another instrument for the enforcement of the ban on open grazing.
The letter reads:
‘It’s on record that because of this issue of increasing insecurity in the state, especially with the rampant cases of kidnapping, and clashes between herders and farmers, you found it expedient to send an Executive Bill to the Delta State House of Assembly, known as the Delta State Security Corps Bill, 2020, aimed to establish a community-based security outfit to assist in the maintenance of law and order in the state.
‘The Delta State House of Assembly on June 20th, 2020 passed the bill for the establishment of Delta State Community Security Agency into law, and the bill was assented to by Your Excellency, the Governor on July 29, 2020, to become an Act.
‘However, a year on, this Act, which we believe was well thought out to assist in enhancing security operations at the grassroots towards combating crime, and complementing other security agencies in the state, is yet to be implemented.
‘The Speaker, Sheriff Oborevwori during the passage of the bill had commended members for painstakingly working on the proposed law, saying that the 38-clause bill will help promote peace, security, and good governance in the state.
‘We note with discomfort that a year after this law was assented to, there has been no move to implement it. What we saw was the formation of ‘Operation Delta Hawk’ with so many fun fair with few operational vans and their operations restricted to Asaba, Agbor, and Warri.
‘In calling Your Excellency’s attention to this law, we are asking that in the face of the recent development of new security challenges, you consider expedient action on the implementation of Delta State Community Security Corps Agency Law 2020.
‘This call has become necessary in the face of the Federal Government’s controlled police force and other security agencies’ likely refusal to enforce the Southern Governors’ declaration on ban on open grazing in southern Nigeria.
‘Be reminded that the law for the Delta State Community Security Agency Corps structure is to have members of the corps recruited within the state and possibly some members of the vigilantes as members, with its operational headquarters in Asaba and control by the state commander. The law also made provision for zonal and local government commanders, which tend to place it as a communal based security formation, backed by the law of the state.
‘We think that Delta State Government should show commitment to the security and welfare of Deltans, as a matter of urgency, and set up a committee to start forthwith the implementation of the Delta State Community Security Agency Corps Law.
‘We want to believe that this government means well for Deltans when it sponsored this bill that has become law, but we are however taken aback that you are yet to keep the commitment to execute the fundamentals of this law to make it operational.
‘Your Excellency, as a responsible organization, we urgently advocate the implementation of this law to curb, the daily pains Deltans, and other Nigerians residing in the state are facing as a result of security challenges, as the law from our understanding seeks to harmonise all the Local Vigilantes in the state, and this could also be the beginning of the process of the State Policing of which you have been a great advocate.
‘We are partners in the development of the state, who are daily in the midst of the people, and we see what many go through in achieving their economic needs. As you may be aware, as the Executive Governor and Chief Security Officer of the State, some parts of this State have become prone to criminal elements who have occupied such areas.
‘Once again, we request that Your Excellency give urgent consideration to our call for immediate implementation of the law, even as we all await the executive bill to the State House of Assembly to give legal backing to the ban on open grazing in the state.’