By Suleiman Umaru
At long last President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army Colonel has bowed to pressure to approve Community policing initiative to boost security nationwide. He has shown his support for Community policing with the approval of N13.3 billion for its immediate take –off across the country.
The Katsina state born Nigerian President broke the cheery news to Nigerians at the opening of the two –day Mid-Term ministerial retreat to assess the progress made so far by the Administration towards the achievement of if its nine key priorities, over the last six years.
Perhaps, to ensure that the Community policing would not be a failure due to non-payment of recruits and lack of arms by the Community policemen and women to confront the Islamic Fundamentalist Groups , BokoHaram, and the Islamic State of the West African Province, ISWAP, operating in the north eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe including the armed wielding Bandits in the north western states of Zamfara, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, Katsina, Buhari, home state and other violent groups across the country, particular, the Separatist groups , in the south east and south west geo-political regions. the Nigerian President had said that the government have ‘’increased investment on arms, weapons and other necessary security equipment to fully arm the Community Police officers’’.
Recall that last year the Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly who rose at a meeting held at the Hazibal event center in Bauchi, Capital of Bauchi state, had asked the retired army General ‘’to reconsider restructuring the country’s security architecture . The States Assembly Speakers had said that the need for the Community policing initiative have become very necessary because of the growing insecurity in the country which the regular police under the close watch of Usman Baba Alkali , the military and other security agencies personnel across the country.
Ahmad Lawan, thePresident of the Senate may have seen reason in the Community policing project that he has thrown his weight behind it., urging Nigerians ‘’to give their full support to it’’. The Senate President had told those that cares to listen that with the Community policing project the insecurity situation in the country would be a thing a thing of the past.
Ali Sokoto, founder of and Commander General of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria had consistently said that the country, with a population of between 100 million to 200million people is under –policed .Raymond Nkemdirim, a former Director of the Department of State Security, DSS, had made a similar Statement that Nigeria is grossly under-policed given the United Nation’s benchmark.
The pressure on the Nigerian President was so much to allow the take –off the Community policing project to hit the ground last year and early this year that he was forced to speak out on his delaying in approving the Community policing initiative.
He had blamed the delay in approving the Community policing initiative on ‘’the inability of the states to pay the workers as at when do’’. Shehu Garba, senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, may have spoken his mind when he disclosed that there is a standard national procedure and prescription for each to comply with regard to the Community policing project.The
He noted that the retired army General was concerned about the proliferation of arms and therefore was not in a hurry to approve it. Recall that Abdulsalami Abubakar, a retired army General and former Head of State , had said that there over six million weapons that had entered into the country through the unapproved routes which happen fallen into the hands of the Criminal elements. .
His major worry was that if the states which are unable to cope with monthly salary payment for workers, the Community policemen who are armed would not want to stay for five or six months without salary which may mockery of the new security outfit.
The south west and the south east have already established their regional security outfits. The six south west governors had formed Amotekun, which had already started policing the region. The southeast governors had established Ebubeagu regional security outfit, which the governors had said will hit the ground before the end of the year.
The south-south governors who met met in PortHarcourt, Capital of Rivers state, were said to have also agreed to float a regional security outfit. Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta state and Chairman, south-south governors Forum, had said that they took the decision to establish a regional security outfit because because most of the Braced states have established their state security organs. He had assured the people of the region that that regional security architecture that has been adopted would be launched soon.
The northern governors over the last two years had persistently made it clear that they remain committed to Community policing and other security measures that would be approved by the Federal government that can curb criminality in the country. There is no gain saying the fact that some of the northern governors may have even started the Community policing project disguised as vigilante groups. Take for instance, in Borno state, Babaga Zulum, a Professor and governor of the state, has continued to provide all the necessary financial support to the various Vigilante groups that dotted the different parts of the state, working closely, with members of the Operation Hadin Kai, prosecuting the counter –Insurgency war in the state and other parts of the north east geopolitical region.
Many believe that if the Nigerian President had cue into the Community policing project as demanded by the state governors and the States House of Assembly Speakers, the incessant attack of police stations in different parts of the country could not happened or suppliers of food items to the armed Bandits in north west state dare try to do so.
Ony recently, a police Divisional Headquarters, located in Uzo-Uwani Local government Area of Enugu state, was was attacked and vandalised by hoodlums, regarded to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, which had be described as a terrorist group by the Court. The hoodlums were said to have kidnapped a policewoman on duty.
Abubakar Lawal, the state Police Commissioner of Police, had asked residents of the state to assist the police with credible information that will lead to the location of the said abducted policewon. The coming into being the Community policing would put all that to stop. Perhaps, this may have informed why the south east governors have hastened efforts to Launch the Ebube Agu regional security outfit, who would be armed.
In a related development, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSDC, on Monday, October 11, 2021, nabbed seven suspected bandits and food suppliers in Sokoto state. The suspects who were said to have been operating along along Tureta and Dange/Shun, Local government Area of the Southern Senatorial District of the state, which had remained a flashpoint for the recent time had participated in the attack on Lambar Tureta and Babagi Haske Communities, leaving several people dead.
Two of the suspects were accused of supplying food items to the bandits and providing the bandits with information on the movement of the police, the troops and other security agencies personnel in the Area, thus aiding their operations. The two suspects were said to have agreed to the allegations levelled on them during interrogation, stating that they have also been involved in cattle rustling within Raba and Wuno Local government Areas.
Informed sources told The Value News that the suspects were arrested by the NSDC, personnel , with the support of the Vigilante group in Wuno Local government Area of the state, meaning that with the coming into being of the Coming policing who would be fully armed and paid their monthly salaries, it would be very difficult for the Bandits in the north west or the BokoHaram and ISWP, insurgents and other Criminal elements across the country to successfully carry out any attack in any Community and escape without being apprehended. We hope to see the back of the Bandits, BokoHara m and ISWAP, Insurgents including the IPOB and other Criminal elements across the country very soon as the Community policemen would battle them to a standstill.