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Atiku backs Amotekun, advocates zonal, state community policing

Following reactions that have trailed the establishment of operation Amotekun security outfit in the South West region of the country, a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has said there is every need for the creation of additional policing structures in the country to address the rapidly growing challenges of insecurity.

Specifically, Atiku is recommending that each geo-political zone, state and community in the country should be allowed to formulate and operate additional security outfit, without any hinderance.

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Atiku stated this on Sunday in a statement signed by his special adviser on media, Paul Ibe, and made available to newsmen in Abuja.

“The time is ripe to seriously confront the reality of insecurity in the country by addressing the urgency of introducing state police, zonal police and community policing to complement the efforts of the current federal police.

“It is obvious that current levels of insecurity in the country are giving rise to major initiatives such as Amotekun and the issue need not be controversial in the first place.

“The police are likely to be more effective if they constantly operate in the same local community or local government because such closeness might create a bond with the local people, thereby enabling community cooperation and participation that would engender proactive outcomes in crime prevention,” Atiku stated.

According to him, as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution, the primary responsibility of government, at any level, is to protect lives and property of the citizenry.

He said out this responsibility, the state employs different layers of measures to ensure effective and efficient policing.

“It is without doubt that in the past decade particularly, the current policing administration in our dear country had been stretched to its limits and it is obvious that the reality of our domestic security upheaval will demand of us to recalibrate our police systems.

“In the First Republic, before we gravitated too much to the center, policing was done federally with each native authority and region having some mechanisms to deal with little upsets that were the security concerns of those times.

“In the present day Nigeria, there is hardly any state of the federation that does not contend with some type of security challenges.

“Because our security challenges are diverse in forms and impacts, it is thus incumbent that centrally controlled police architecture cannot exclusively deal with those challenges.

“Consequently, there is need for the creation of additional policing structures in the country to address the rapidly growing challenges of insecurity and crime,” Atiku stated.

Noting further, he said Nigeria is a vast country facing enormous security challenges and, there is the urgent need to create more security structures at the local levels to reduce the burden on the federal police.

He advised that security issues should not be in anyway politicised, and monopolised because the insecurity is alarming and has only required collective responsibility to tackle.

“The issue of security shouldn’t be poiticised in the face of our current alarming security challenges characterised by the fear of even travelling on our highways by the citizens who might be intercepted by kidnappers and taken hostage for ransom.

“Local policing shouldn’t be mistaken for an effort to hijack the role of the federal police or a competition with the federal government.

“The obvious inadequacies of the federal police to effectively deal with these rapidly growing security challenges make local policing not only desirable, but also necessary.

“The police are more likely to be effective in areas where they are well known and trusted by the local communities who in turn are willing to share information about known criminals and criminal activities, thereby foiling those crimes before they are even carried out.

“It is a given perception that when people have a role in their own security, they are going to help to defeat the criminal in their tracks and that the more they are involved, the more likely they would perceive the police as their friends.

“In the envisage new order, states and local governments shouldn’t be reduced to peripheral players in policing and security matters. When local police structures are closest to the grassroots, emergency response will be more effective than the current unwieldy chain of command that renders local government chairmen ineffective when their people are under attacks.

“As a matter of fact, it is refusing to adopt new ways of doing things that poses a threat to the unity of the country,” Atiku insisted.

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