Nigeria: Anglican Archbishop, Retired AIG Urge Govt to Restructure Police

11 November 2019

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

Archbishop of Bendel Ecclesiastical Province of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Rt. Reverend Friday John Imaekhai, has suggested the introduction of state police as a means of checking the insecurity in country.

Also, a retired Assistant Inspector of Police who served in Zone 4, Chris Ezike, said the nature of insecurity in the country at the moment required a restructuring of the police to bring in the elements of community policing.

Both men spoke yesterday in an interview with journalists at the 2019 Adult/General Harvest at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp, Gwarimpa in Abuja.

Imaekhai, who was asked to assess the state of the nation, said security challenges in the country were quite disturbing.

He said: "One thing is becoming clearer in Nigeria. The option of state police is becoming imminent. This is because the present structure of Nigeria Police Force being controlled at the federal level has not been able to ensure adequate protection of lives and properties of Nigerians. Government knows what to do to check insecurity, because its role is to secure lives and property."

He added that once a government fails to provide security and give hope to the citizens, then it loses its relevance.

On his part, the retired Assistant Inspector of Police said the federal government should take steps to restructure the police force and bring the security personnel closer to community levels.

He also urged government to recruit more hands and provide them with right equipment to function optimally.

Ezike said: "Community policing is the answer. Our country is under-policed. If you want to design the right way to secure the communities, the people must have an input. To achieve a better result, the people must be part of the decision-making to secure their societies, through community policing. We should take policing to smallest units; even traditional rulers have a role to play. We just have to do structural adjustment of the current police formation."

On the issue of the right number of police personnel that is required to adequately cater for the internal security of the country, the retired police chief said: "The United Nations platform said one to every 400 persons. Check what we have now and know whether we have enough. We are grossly under-policed and under-equipped."

He added that policing is now technology oriented and intelligence driven, adding that serious attention must be paid to involving the communities in efforts to generate intelligence to secure lives and properties.

Ezike, who was the chairman of Harvest and Bazaar of the church, also spoke of the lessons of charity, giving out to the less privileged in the society which are parts of Christian teachings.

He said the crusade against corruption should the job of all Nigerians, adding: "We must continue to be optimistic. The duty of putting this country on the right trajectory is the duty of all of us, government, parents, faith-based organisations have roles to play."

According to him, "Nigeria was not created this way. We must do the right things hoping that tomorrow will be better. Problem of honesty and unity is the problem of all of us. Church as an institution must continue the advocacy."

Similarly, the Anglican Bishop of Ugheli Diocese, Rt. Reverend Cyril Odutemu, said every Nigerian should be involved in the effort to find lasting solution to current insecurity challenge.

He advised government to look inwards for solutions to the problems confronting the nation.

"Government should utilise the little resources wisely to reach the masses so that we can all celebrate the goodness of God. The problem of insecurity is not the problem of President Muhammadu Buhari alone. We must wake up to defend ourselves, support government, not going outside the law because you are the first security officer of your life. If we wait for the police and army, they can be overwhelmed. Thus, we must keep an eye on our neighbour, society and do the right thing," he said.

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