by Bimbola Oyesola
Stakeholders across all spheres of the society have re-emphasize importance of community policing as a timely complementary approach to overcome the challenges of insecurity in the country.
This is even as organised labour tasked the Federal Government on the voluntary arrangements for the engagement of the community police who would not be allowed to carry arms nor draw salary from the Nigeria Police.
In a message at the one-day mass sensitisation of the members of the public on community policing organised by the Nigeria Police in Lagos, Issa Aremu, vice-president of the IndustriAll Global Union, said it was time Nigeria reinvented community policing to curtail the menace of insecurity.
“No country in Africa has vibrant communities with tested community leaders like Nigeria. But too long period of military dictatorships had destroyed associational life of dialogue and consultation. Community policing is a practical way of democratizing policing in a democratic system,” he said.
He noted that the tenure of the present Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammadu Adamu, has witnessed landmark security legislation and establishment of institutions aimed at repositioning the police force and ensuring security.
Aremu maintained that, in spite of the excesses of the police, on the whole, the strengths of the police force were far more than the negative.
“In any case, as we have seen after the #EndSARS peaceful focused protests were captured by God-knows-them, it was clear that the worse of public policing is better than gang of self-serving hoodlums! We must consolidate the gains of existing police force while we must help to reposition it for the current challenges,” he said.
He added, “Happily, Lagos under His Excellency, is tested in this respect. CP involves all stakeholders and communities represented here by local governments, churches and mosques, workforce in formal and informal sectors in organized unions, youths and women organizations as well as all pan-Nigerian civil society organizations.”
Calling for unity from all stakeholders to support the establishment of community police, Aremu stated that there must be all-inclusive, bi-partisan approaches to eradicate violent crime, noting that current discordant views among some governors were unhealthy and unhelpful.
“If elected state actors operate separately, certainly, forces of banditry would defeat all of us collectively.
Communities must wake up to demand and work for people’s policing that will ensure sustainable peace for national development,” he stressed.
The Lagos State chapter chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Funmi Sessi, in her contribution, slammed the government on the position that the officers recruited for community policing would not be allowed to carry arms.
She said, “It’s long overdue to have the community policing in place, with under 400,000 police to over 200 million population. But what we can’t understand is the fact that they would not be allowed to carry arms, whereas the killer herdsmen and bandits carry arms to protect cows and commit crimes.
“The fact that they would be engaged on voluntary terms without pay also makes one to wonder how they can bring their best. Without proper reform of the police, how can corruption be controlled?”
She warned that there could only be effective community policing if it was not hijacked by political groups.
The IGP, Mohammed Adamu, represented by the AIG of Zone 2, Ahmed Ilyasu, reassured the stakeholders that the Nigeria Police would work assiduously to ensure the success of community policing.
He stated that the police, which presently has a workforce of 371,800 is set to recruit an additional 281,000 to increase the number to 650,000 to confront new challenges.
Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Samuel Egube, urged residents of the state to join in the campaign for effective community policing to make it a success.