The governors of South East geo-political zone have unanimously adopted Community Policing Initiative of the Nigeria Police in a bid to promote safety in the zone.
The governors made the decision as articulated in a 10-point communiqué adopted during the South East Geo-Political Zone Security Summit, held in Enugu.
The theme of the summit was: “Strategic Partnership For Effective Community Policing In The South East Geo-Political zone’’.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, explained that increasing complexity of crimes in the country has made it necessary that a people-oriented approach be adopted in the security of life and property.
Adamu said that the initiative would witness engagement of special constables, who would be engaged within specific communities under the existing collaboration between the governors and the police.
He stressed that they would be specially trained with special branded uniforms.
Presenting the communiqué, the Chairman South East Governors’ Forum, Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi State said that having reviewed the workings of the initiative, it was in line with what they were already doing in their respective states, which necessitated its acceptance.
The governors stressed that community policing committees as proposed by the federal government, would be made up of traditional rulers and religious leaders, who would be in charge of recruitment within the communities.
They added that efforts would be intensified to offer economic programmes, aimed at providing legitimate means of livelihood to residents and citizens of the region.
According to the communiqué, committees made up of Traditional Rulers, Community Leaders, Town Union Leaders, Religious Leaders, others will be charged with the responsibility of selecting and recruiting community policing officers to work within the communities.
“Governors of states within the Geo-political Zone shall reinforce and provide improved capacity for the police and other security agencies in their respective states in support of the programme.
“Each State within the South-East zone shall individually and periodically undertake operations against crimes and criminality, in synergy with the police and other security agencies.
“The states shall individually, develop modalities for sharing intelligence with other states in the zone on the movement and activities of criminals in the zone.
“Each state within the zone is to increase its investment in social intervention programmes aimed at providing legitimate and alternative means of livelihood for teeming youths.’’
The communiqué also said that state governors within the zone should to have joint security meetings on quarterly basis to assess the security situation within the zone.
“Ministry of Information in the various states within the zone in conjunction with Traditional Rulers, Community Leaders and Religious Leaders shall liaise with Police Public Relations Officers in the five states’ Police Commands within the South-East Zone.
“This will aid the creation of public awareness and sensitisation on the need for active engagement and participation by citizens in community policing initiatives within their areas.
“The IGP will expedite action on full take-off of the two additional Police Mobile Squadrons recently established in the South-East zone to complement existing security architecture and boost safety and security in the zone.
“In furtherance of this objective, the relevant state governors will support the Nigeria Police, especially in the area of provision of land, office accommodation, vehicles and other essential logistics.’’
Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State had earlier opened the discussions by highlighting his administration’s efforts at equipping security agencies and neighborhood watch groups in the state.
The keynote speaker, who doubles as Director, Institute of Peace, Conflict and Development Studies, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Prof. Felix Asogwa, said as beautiful as the policy of community policing could be, in Nigeria, “it is unfortunate that it has no legal backing to enhance its proficiency.’’
The Arch-Bishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma and the President-General Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, Nnia Nwodo, called on the federal government to look into the killings of innocent citizens.