– AS BAYELSA LAUNCHED COMMUNITY SAFETY CORPS –
NEWS TALK BY PHILIP JEREMIAH EKE – A MEDIA STRATEGIST/PUBLIC AFFAIRS ANALYST IN YENAGOA
Taking into cognizance the high level of insecurity in our country today, amongst which include-kidnapping, armed robbery, herders’ terrorism and many others, it has become abundantly clear that current security arrangement, notably the policing system is no longer good enough to address the security challenges facing the nation.
As the security situation is currently, there is no way we can continue running the police as presently constituted. We should come up with a new policy on community policing as a model. We have to look at other parts of the world and learn how they are adopting their security strategies.
It should be also noted that the fears of decentralization of the police which have been expressed in some quarters are unnecessary and could be addressed. It should be noted that the present policy of centralized policing has not served public interest since 1966 when the military authorities introduced unitary system.
That is why within the ongoing clamor for federalism in the country, there is a call for state police concept that the 2014 political conference report specifically recommends. Since the ruling party now seems well disposed to state police due to the high level of insecurity in the land, the time to move in that direction is now. The public awareness in this regard should begin as soon as possible and the executive bill to that effect should be sent to the National Assembly, it is a wakeup call for our national assembly members to initiate this draft bill.
Vividly, there is no more time to waste while urging the National Assembly and various state legislatures should move with uncommon speed and amend the relevant portions of the 1999 constitution as a stand-alone agenda as a matter of urgency.
The country generally is not safe from Islamic Terrorists primarily Boko Haram, its affiliates and rivals such as I SWAP, bandits terrorists, Fulani herdsmen, militants, unknown gunmen, armed robbers, cult gangs, ethnic militias, kidnappers, the intervention needs collaboration with the general public and moreso, establishing community policing is a pivotal issues of state and national development.
It must be noted that the people are tired of listening to lamentations over the high level of crime and insecurity in the land, especially the Owo Killings, and other party of the country. Indeed, if the ruling party can begin the issue of restructuring the country with the introduction of state police, there would be little doubt left over restructuring.
It is completely out of place that Nigeria is the only prominent member of the Forum of Federations that is maintaining a supposedly federal and only one police force to maintain law and order in a population of more than 200million spread over 36 federating units.
It may interest you to know that, in the United States for instance, the New York City police is one of the most respected internal security forces in the world in terms of operational efficiency. And it is the city government headed by a Mayor, not the state governor that funds and controls it.
The benefits of State Police will include well-known faces within the communities. The police will frequently patrol the streets; interact with members of the public, noting complaints, intervening in minor arguments before they escalate to violent clashes.
The state police formations will be well equipped, well funded, well trained and well manned. The states could even individually run the best police training academies in the country, well maintained, with the best hands forming part of the training staff.
The state police officers will take pride in the fact that their community, their town or city and their state, year after year, is consistently on the list of lowest crime rates in Nigeria. The state officers’ allegiance will be to the peace and security of the state, not to any political group or sitting government.
A state governor as the Chief Security Officer of the state will also know that running a low crime state is attractive to investors and tourists and in the best economic interest of his state. In addition, governors will come to realize that the people of their respective states are sure to vote them out in the next election should they fail to ensure the security of all citizens of their respective states.
His Excellency, Senator Douye Diri, the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State who recently emphasized the aggressive need of robust security apparatus in curbing criminalities in Bayelsa State, sent an Executive Bill to the Bayelsa State House of Assembly for the establishment of Bayelsa State Community Safety Corps, which he has equally endorsed and passed into law. Also, it may interest you to know that Brigadier General Eric Angaye (Rtd) who is appointed, screened and confirmed by the Bayelsa State House of Assembly as the coordinator of the new security outfit, which is vested to recruit, manage the security apparatus of the corps in the state.
The highly revered ex-military icon, one of the best brains in the Nigeria Army, who hails from Okoloba Town in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, with the establishment of this new security outfit, Bayelsans now can sleep with their two eyes closed, recently, there were several wanton killings, kidnappings, stealing all over the state, we opined all hands must be on deck for collaboration in fighting the crime rate to a minimal level.
According to report, the new recruits of the corps will be posted to their various communities in the security of lives and property, they will equally partner with the police and other security agencies in fighting crime, to protect and preserve public property, to give information to the police and other security agencies of criminals or wanted persons residing in the ward or Local Government.
Also, the new recruits should not be less than 18years of age are of unquestionable character, are physically and mentally fit; reside in the community where they work; have not been convicted of any criminal offence; and have pledged to abide by the rules and regulations of the organization and the laws of Nigeria. Equally, the patrol should be jointly carried out with police against criminals. This strategy is to make arrest of criminals easier without necessarily engaged in combat or killing of suspects before they are being prosecuted.
The establishment is one thing and funding in the realization of the aims and objectives is another thing, while appealing to the prosperity Government ably led by Senator Douye Diri to give the needed support, especially funding and the provision of the needed facilities to enable them work effectively, they should equally be trained frequently in meeting up global standard. For the new recruits, urging them to be very professional, stressing that they are employed to secure lives and property, they should arrest suspected criminals and hand over to law enforcement agencies for prosecution. Also, urging those in the habit of talking illicit drugs, like alcoholic, marijuana and others should abstain from these atrocities, stressing that the law is no respecter of persons, noting that they will be surely be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others.
In the same vain, the general public as a matter of public policy, should collaborate with the new security outfit and other security agencies, intelligence gathering of information is very vital, without the needed information the new security outfit will not achieve its mandate, while urging the general public to report any suspicious movement and activities to the new outfit or other security agencies for the ultimate security of lives and property in Bayelsa State and Nigeria at large.
Moreso, tasking parents and caregivers to always dissuade the youth from being used by certain selfish individuals in order to orchestrate violence in the society. It is so pertinent that for the new security outfit to work effectively in Bayelsa State, there should be ultimate need for enlarged security conference where stakeholders will brainstorm and chant new developmental security posture to provide secured environment to enable citizens to go about their lawful activities.
Killings, maiming, kidnappings, stealing in our land is enough, let us be our brothers keeper, together we can achieve, several innocent souls of our brothers and sisters have been killed wantonly in Bayelsa State and Nigeria at large, enough is enough, Kudos to the prosperity government for the establishment of the Bayelsa State community safety corps in its corporate bid in the security of lives and property, together we can make it, let us give peace a chance for the overall development of Bayelsa State and Nigeria as a whole.