… reveals Edo’s community policing model
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has reiterated the call for the restructuring of the Nigeria Police Force, to make room for community-driven policing, urging for better funding for security to secure the lives and property of Nigerians.
The governor, who said this at the South South Nigeria Police Force Regional Security Summit 2019 themed, Strategic Partnership for Effective Community Policing in the South South, held in Asaba, the Delta State capital, noted that there was an urgent need to restructure the police to ensure effective policing.
The governor stressed that it was ironical that Nigeria remains the only country globally with a federal structure, which still operates a unitary police structure, adding that the community or state policing at this juncture in Nigeria’s development, should not be a matter of debate but rather on the mode of implementation.
According to him, “It is not whether we should have state or community policing. It has gone beyond debate. The conversation we should be having is how it will be implemented. We have to structure them properly and constitutionally.
“We believe that we should have a security arrangement within the state that covers all the local government areas and reports to the governor’s office. With that, we can then share the intelligence and surveillance gathered with the Federal government agencies.”
He stated that there was the challenge of funding for security agencies, noting that restructuring of the Police will help to better utilise the fund from the Federal Government, so that states can deploy their resources in tackling local security issues.
“For us in Edo State, we are launching the Security Trust Fund next year and we have set aside N2 billion in the 2020 budget for the fund. We hope to work with the private sector to grow the fund. Everyone has a role to play, but what the police is doing is to lead the initiative with this summit,” he noted.
He said the state’s security architecture christened ‘Operation Wabaizigan’ is already exploring the community policing model, noting that vigilantes are part of the arrangement and help collect intelligence across the state’s 18 local government areas.
He added, “At the state level, we have almost 500 persons in Public Works Volunteers (PUWOV) scheme. We intend to grow them to be around 5000 in the nearest future. They are being trained by the State Police Command. They do not bear arms, but help in securing the state.”
On other aspects of the architecture, he said, “We are also working on the Forest Rangers, who will police the forests. We discovered that the victims of kidnapping are taken to the forest and the regular security officers do not have the expertise to work there. We have a Forestry Commission that is recruiting and training the Forest Rangers.”
He said the state has a Command and Control Center, which coordinate activities of security agencies in the state and is deploying a Security Incident Management System to track, monitor and control crime in the state. We track the types and locations of crime in the state and how to control criminality in black spots.