21 August 2017

Nigeria: Osinbajo Orders IG to Commence Community Policing

Photo: Premium Times
Nigerian police officer.

Abuja — Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has ordered the Nigeria Police to commence the implementation of community policing programme.

The acting president gave the order at a one-day National Economic Council (NEC) security retreat held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa last Thursday.

Making this disclosure in a statement last night, the acting president's spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, said Osinbajo asked the Nigeria Police to immediately begin the implementation of community policing to ensure protection of life. "Indeed, the acting president has already directed the immediate implementation of the federal government community policing programme in a bid to shore up protection of life and security in the country," he said.

He said the retreat was organised to review current security challenges across Nigeria with a view to finding lasting solutions to identified problems.

According to him, the retreat featured presentations on the national security, terrorism in the North-east, herders/farmers clashes, ethno-religious crises, regional agitations for secession, hate speech; kidnapping; and security challenges in the Niger Delta.

"There was a clear conclusion that policing the country and the entire law enforcement generally, cannot effectively continue without devolving policing and law enforcement out to the states.

"But it was also noted that while the idea of state police requires constitutional amendments, the community policing model must now be enforced," the statement said.

Akande also quoted Osinbajo as saying "we must enforce a model that democratises security in such a way as to include everyone in the process of protecting themselves, securing their own lives and the lives of people in their community.

"The simple advantage of the arrangement is that it means that it would involve the ordinary citizen in ensuring his security and that of his community. It must involve all local leaders, all structures of civil society. And on every street, the police ought to have one or two persons who can contact the police at short notice."

The statement added that presidential directive to the IG on community policing was pursuant to Section 215(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended and Section 10(1) of the Police Act Cap. P19, LFN 2004.

He quoted Section 215(3) of the Constitution as saying that "the President or such minister of the government of the federation as he may authorise in that behalf may give to the IG such lawful directions with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order as he may consider necessary and the IG shall comply with those directions or cause them to be complied with.

"Also section 10 (1) of the Police Act, 'the president may give to the IG such directions with respect to the maintaining and securing of public safety and public order as he may consider necessary, and the IG shall comply with those directions or cause them to be complied with.'"

The statement added: "The roll-out of the community policing programme is intended to enhance crime prevention and control, improve intelligence-gathering capabilities of the police and deliver quality and people-oriented policing.

"The programme will involve the community partnering with the police to uncover and solve crimes through a process involving town hall meetings to assess security situation and security priorities of the communities, the performance of the police and the nature of the support the communities can provide to improve the quality of policing."

The statement further said the retreat discussed concerns about the delay in the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators of terrorist acts, kidnapping and purveyors of hate speeches.

Against this background, the statement said the designation of special courts was advocated with a consensus that judicial and executive arms of the federal and state governments will be working together to establish such courts.

It also said the federal government would also help states develop a template on how such special courts would be established and managed.

On farmers/herdsmen clashes, it said NEC agreed that both the federal and state governments need to properly define the problems and eschew the ethno-religious construction of an economic challenge.

"NEC members stated that it would be useful bringing the different groups together-herdsmen and the farmers -to meet and discuss, and also work out some of the issues that concern them," he said.

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