By Madonna Nwani
Community policing in Nigeria is not new, the new Commissioner of Police, Ebonyi State command, Mr. Philip Sule Maku, has declared.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the State Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Lucy Samu in Abakaliki last week, CP Maku noted that the community policing policy being espoused by the Inspector-General of Police, derived from the ancient practice whereby people were very much abreast with their environment.
He said, “We’ve been doing it, the essence is for people within a particular area to be able to sit down, diagnose their problems in terms of securing their environment and come out with a workable solution”
The CP averred that in olden days, any visitor to a new environment was usually known to all but such was no longer the case now. That is why the IG wants us now to have it back. It will reduce crime to the barest minimum.”
Commissioner Maku even attributed the incessant farmers/herders crisis to the fact that herders were often perceived as encroachers from “the other place”.
According to him, “In olden days, you don’t just wake up and come to a place to graze, your identity must be known so that if you commit any havoc, they can easily apprehend you.”
“In community policing, there’s going to be a division of labour, every segment of the society would be involved.”
The CP enthused that a recruitment of community-based spies was an integral part of the scheme whereby the spies provide useful information to the police who in turn would collaborate with other security agencies on advisory capacity to tackle the crime wave.
“That means that if we identify any security challenge anywhere, the youths and the elders living within the environment will be keyed into the programme so that you know the people to assist the security agents by way of sharing information.”
“Once there’s information and proper synergy, it reduces the burden. Before any crime is committed, you nip it in the bud with the full co-operation of members of the community.”
The police boss further unveiled that the Ebonyi State Government would be inaugurating it’s community policing initiative next month and with authorization of IG, the spies to be recruited (aged between 25-49) would be resident of each particular ward as nobody would be allowed to encroach on the other ward so that all the bad boys of that particular area would be easily identified; they would be entitled to monthly stipends as the services would be entirely voluntary.
He further reiterated that his mission was to play a key role in crime prevention in the state. “The purpose of any government is to ensure the security, welfare and well being of the citizenry. Any government lacking any of those three ingredients is ineffective.”