By Bosun Awoniyi
The Nigerian government has launched an initiative seeking to build trust between the police and local communities in the country to curb the violence activities.
The initiative dubbed “Community Policing” aims at forging closer ties between the police and members of the public and enhance security in the grassroots, said Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police while addressing a town hall meeting in the northwest state of Kebbi on peace and security on Wednesday.
The federal government had realized the importance of partnering with the community, which is the reason it embarked on community policing, said Adamu.
The northwest region has been wracked by years of violence. Banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities have recently become even rampant in this part of the country. The Nigerian authorities have launched repeated military operations and local peace talks to try to curb the violence activities.
While appealing to his audience to support the initiative, Abubakar called on communities and other stakeholders to collaborate with security agencies to tackle banditry in the northwest region.
He said the implementation of Community Policing structure encompasses the incorporation of certain security outfits from villages and wards for intelligence gathering.
Such outfits, the police chief added, would also be made to work with the traditional institutions and community leaders to enhance crime prevention and control.
In his remark, Atiku Bagudu, the governor of Kebbi, expressed dismay over the disruption of peace in parts of the state by bandits and vigilantes.
Bagudu said the only way to solve any problem is for the people to accept to live in peace and harmony with one another. He said the state government would not condone acts capable of disrupting the peace, warning that criminals would be punished.
The Arewa Consultative Forum(ACF) in a statement by its chairman, Audu Ogbeh, expressed concern that the northern region is faced with such magnitude of insecurity.
While attributing the high level of insecurity in the north to unemployment, poverty, and non-inclusion of the youths in governance, ACF called on the state and federal governments as well as religious and traditional leaders to take practical steps to address the security and economic challenges confronting the region.
The ACF advised state governments from the northern region to pay adequate attention to agriculture which offers more opportunities for diversification and the development of a more sustainable economy for the region and the country at large.
Nigeria in recent months has witnessed a series of insecurity issues, including bandit attacks, robberies and kidnaps.