COMMUNITY POLICING: DECADES OF BACK AND FORTH :BY JIBRIN BABA NDACE

Reports


As a fallout of the recent national concern on security challenges across nooks and crannies of Nigeria, the Senate invited the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on Febraury 5, 2020, to the National Assembly. After about four hours of executive session with the senators, the IG briefed National Assembly correspondents on the outcome of their deliberations. He disclosed that one of the issues deliberated upon was the concept of community policing in Nigeria.
Adamu said: “I appeared before the Senate and briefed them on the concept of community policing. If you can remember, last year, we sensitized the country on the need to adopt community policing in the country and the concept is to give policing back to the community.
“Let the community take the initiative in identifying the problems that are there that can lead to the commission of crime and then we will work with the community to solve the crime. We believe that everybody comes from a community and in a community you know who and who is there.
“Taking policing back to the community will help in reducing crime to the barest minimum. So, I have explained the concept of community policing to the Senate, which involves partnership, with communities and there are various communities. You can have traditional institutions as a community. You can have the National Union of Road Transport Workers as a community. You can have the media as a community… that you can have partnership with.
If you are talking about partnership, we are talking about problem-solving. We need to solve problems that evolve in the community.
“What we are saying essentially with the concept of community policing is that fighting crime should not be left to the law enforcement agencies alone. State governors, local government chairmen should take up their responsibilities. People that are committing these crimes, there are reasons that make them to commit these crimes. if it is lack of employment, if it is lack of education or those issues that will require intervention by the government, the state government and local government should take responsibility.”
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan had earlier in his welcome address promised to pursue implementation of community policing as a new approach to tackling increasing rate of criminality such as kidnapping, armed robbery, banditry across the country.
The IG’s lenghthy explanation on the concept of community policing and the Senate President’s promise to ensure implementation has become routine to Nigerians. It is rather sad that as a nation, Nigeria has been discussing the need for implementation of community policing to help in curbing current and emerging security challenges since the emergence of the current democratic dispensation.
It is embarrassing that various IGs of Police from Tafa Balogun to date have been making cases for the implementation of community policing in line with global best practices and in tune with the demands of present day Nigeria.
Indeed, community policing formed part of the 8-Point Agenda of IGP Tafa Balogun.
Besides, Balogun established the Police Complaint Bureau and the Human Rights Desks as a step toward boosting police and citizens’ relationship. Furthermore, with the support of the United Kingdom, he established a pilot community policing project in Enugu.
While some states have implemented the concept, it is clear, Nigeria has not embraced it totally. Unfortunately, while Nigeria has wasted the last two decades to debate whether to implement community policing or not, criminal non state actors have continued to employ and deploy new means of committing crime with impunity in the country.
Like his predecessors, Mohammed Adamu assumed office fully prepared and positioned to implement community policing being an award winner on community policing while serving as Commissioner of Police in Enugu State. Adamu has also made it a top priority and has sensitized Nigerians on the need for its implementation. He also confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari gave him the directive for full implementation of the concept.
”The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has directed me to implement community policing strategy across the country. This is a structure which will enable traditional rulers to maintain an effective cultural and social control over their subjects.”
Beyond the rhetorics and years of back and forth, it is time for a paradigm shift, new thinking and creative approach that put citizens at the core of safety and security of their communities in particular, and Nigeria at large. Everyone ought to be a stakeholder or the bad guys will stay ahead and leave us without peace.

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