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Take away from North-Central security summit

… Community policing strategy to the rescue

An all-encompassing security meeting tagged ‘The North-Central Security Summit’ was held in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, with the view to map out strategies to contain the rising security challenges in the region, and by extension the country.

The summit, which had in attendance, governors of the six states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the region, security experts, traditional rulers, state and federal lawmakers, civil society groups and other stakeholders, unanimously agreed to adopt Community Policing Strategy as an effective tool in bringing policing to the grassroots.

This will be effectively done with the use of traditional rulers and community leaders, who will assist in the selection of community policing officers that will work within the communities.

Stakeholders at the summit who are determined to curtail the excesses of criminals and to sustain such gathering that would bring about peace, unity and peaceful coexistence among the diverse ethnic nationalities, as well as to ensure a safer society, have also approved the quarterly meeting of governors of the six states, including the FCT, Abuja, with the code name ‘The G-7 Joint Security Summit’.

This is with the view to appraising security situation from their different perspectives, aimed at sharing experiences on the best approach to effectively manage security situation among member states and beyond.

The one-day regional security summit came at the time the country, its government and the entire security apparatus believed to be losing grip of the situation.

In what could be likened to as a near success, a total of 36 bandits operating or rather terrorising people across the states of the zone, led by Buju Bazamfare voluntarily surrendered themselves, arms to the police at the summit.

The summit which has as its theme ‘Strategic partnership for effective community policing in the North-central zone/FCT’, was attended  by  the North-Central Governors: The governors present at the Summit included, Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, Simon Lalong of Plateau, Samuel Ortom of Benue,  Yahaya Bello of Kogi and Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq of Kwara, Abubakar Bello of Niger, while the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Bello was represented by Adamu Gwari, the Director of Security.

Others who attended the meeting were the Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Bage; the Attah Igala, Michael Ameh-Oboni; the Gbong Gwom Jos, Jacob Buba-Gyang among others.

Also present are the Inspector General of Police, Director General, National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, traditional rulers, among other critical stakeholders of the zone.

The theme of the summit was in line with the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to overhaul the security structure and to address the challenges in the country.

At the North-Central summit, speakers took turn to first share their experiences, appraise previous situations and recommend appropriate measures very necessary that will ensure continued sustenance of peace, not only in the region, but the country at large.

The summit, which was at the instance of the authority of Police High Command, Abuja was held simultaneously in other geopolitical zones of the country, all in the efforts to curtail the prevailing security situation.

Some of the issues that dominated discussion at the summit included cases of armed robbery, human trafficking, kidnapping, murder, activities of the Boko Haram sect, communal clashes and conflict between farmers and herdsmen, unemployment, drug addiction and almajiri syndrome.

These issues were observed as reasons for the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the hands of unpatriotic elements. It was not only a concern to the security agencies and those saddled with the responsibility of governance, but to all and sundry.

Meanwhile, there was a communiqué issued at the end of the summit, where the governors from the region were tasked to improve the capacity of the recruited officers from the community policing, as well as to ensure their welfare is taken care of.

In addition to the aforementioned, there will be a concerted effort between the state’s ministry of Information in collaboration with Traditional rulers, community leaders all within the zone to liaise with Police Public Relations Officers (PPROs) in creating public awareness and senstisation programmes on the need for active engagement and participation in community policing initiative in their areas, among other resolutions.

Reading the communiqué on behalf of the governors after the meeting, Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule said: “The following strategic summit decisions were made after a comprehensive and exhaustive deliberation:

“The state governors have accepted and adopted community policing strategy as an effective tool in bringing policing to the grassroots, traditional rulers and community leaders do assist the police in the selection process of community policing officers to be recruited within the community.

“The governors of the state within the geographical zone will enforce and provide improved capacity for the various security apparatus in their respective states in support of community policing strategy of the Federal Government of Nigeria

“Each state within the north Central geopolitical zone will individually and periodically undertake operation against crime and criminality in synergy with the police and other security agencies.

“The states to individually develope modalities for sharing intelligence with others within the zone on the movement of activities of criminals within our zone.

“Each state within the zone to increase investment in social intervention programmes aimed at providing legitimate and alternative means of livelihood for the teeming youths, especially the repentant criminals as well.

“The state government to provide all necessary logistics to enable the return of IDPs in their various ancestral homes, the ministry of information of the various states in conjunction with traditional rulers and community leaders to liaise with police public relations officers in creating public awareness and sensitising programmes for the need of active engagement and participation in community policing initiative in their various areas.

“The IG of police to consider establishing additional squadron of mobile police/CTU bases in trouble spots to compliment distinct security architecture and bull safety security in selected states within the zone.

“The north Central governors are enjoined to partner with Nigerian police force especially in the area of provision of lands, office accommodation, vehicles and other essentials,” he said.

Earlier at the summit, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu said that the force had arrested 1,527 kidnap suspects and recovered 2,037 firearms across the country in 2019.

Adamu said that 6, 531 other criminal suspects were arrested, while 2, 037 arms of various description with 21, 870 live ammunitions were recovered within the period.

He said that the resilience and commitment of the police and other stakeholders towards curbing crime and criminality in the country made the recoveries possible.

Adamu said comprehensive reform to reposition the Police force for enhanced service delivery was part of his deliberate policy to improve security and safety in the country.

According to the I-G, police formations and commands have been reorganised and re-equipped for effectiveness and efficiency.

“In the coming days, new Police Mobile Force (PMF) squadrons will be established in troubled spots to complement existing security architecture and boost safety and security across the country.

“We have recently deployed the Police Smart Surveillance (CCTV Camera-on-the-move) vehicles, Armoured Personnel Carriers and other state-of-the-art tactical operational vehicles to aid our capacity in dealing with highly organised violent criminal networks.

“We have also established the Nigeria Police national command and control centre and the Nigeria Police crime and incident data base centre.

“These critical policing assets were recently commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari, and with their deployment, the Nigeria police is poised to not only make Nigerians safe but to make Nigeria safer,” he said.

Adamu said the 5th North Central Security Summit was aimed at addressing the security challenges in the region.

He said that such summits had been held in the four geo-political zones, and were geared towards effective integration and implementation of policing strategies.

Adamu called on stakeholders from the zone to partner with the police towards the success of the community policing strategy.

He said the outcome of the summit would deepen understanding of security threats dynamics in the region and new strategies to strengthen the police and other stakeholders’ capacities to attain their internal security mandate.

Governor Abdullahi Sule said, the state has keyed into the initiative of the federal government, as one of the measure taken to bring the situation under control.

“You are no doubt aware that Nasarawa State had its own share of security challenges.  The challenges which we had to contend with are majorly conflicts between herdsmen and farmers, as well as, ethnic groups.

“This, as you are aware, is a national phenomenon that Government at all levels is strategising to address, particularly with the current initiative of the Federal Government, aimed at developing ranches through its mechanism of National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), which Nasarawa State has fully keyed into.”

Governor Sule, who described the summit as timely, appealed to President Buhari not to withdraw the Operation Whirl Operating in the zone, saying that the operation with headquarters in Makurdi, Benue State and bases in some locations in the State, has helped to mitigate farmers/herders’ clash and other criminal activities.

He stressed that the operation has greatly contributed in “our collective efforts towards sustainable peace in our border communities.”

“You may wish to be further informed that both the Nasarawa and Benue State Governments appealed to the Federal Government not to withdraw the personnel of ‘Operation Whirl Stroke’ Special Force until when the security situation at the border communities of our states further improve among other resolutions,” Sule said.

 

Solomon Attah, Lafia

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