Christopher Isiguzo and Gideon Arinze in Enugu
Determined to find a lasting solution to the security challenges facing the South-east, governors of the five states in the zone on Wednesday resolved to adopt the Community Policing Initiative of the Inspector General of Police (IG) Mohammed Adamu.
The development, which was the outcome of a closed-door meeting the governors had with the IG in Enugu, is expected to be an effective tool for bringing policing to the grassroots.
This came as the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, asked the federal government to initiate the process of allowing each of the six geopolitical zones to establish their own security outfits in order to effectively tackle modern security challenges.
The leaders spoke during the South-east geo-political zone security summit themed: ‘Strategic Partnership for Effective Community Policing in the South East Zone’.
Delivering the communique issued at the end of their meeting with IG Adamu, the Chairman of the South-east Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, said the community policing initiate will lead to the recruitment of police constables who will work closely with various communities across the zone in tackling insecurity.
The initiative, which has since been approved by the federal government and intended to further deal with the increasing security challenges in the country, according to the governors, was a welcome development that will substantially address the security problems across the country.
Umahi said that the process takes into consideration the security initiatives put in place by the governors of the states in the South-east such as the vigilante groups, neighbourhood watch and forest guards.
According to him, “We shall set up community policing committees that will be made up of traditional rulers, religious and town union leaders within the locality will be charged with the responsibility of selecting and recruiting officers that will work within the communities.”
He said that as state governors, they will have joint security meetings on quarterly basis to access the security situation within the zone.
On his part, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nwodo said allowing each zone to establish their own security outfit will greatly assist in resolving the security crisis facing the country.
He said if the states are allowed to independently carry out the recruitment of individuals to work as security operatives in the various communities, it will help to better deal with insecurity.
“We want to own our domestic security outfit. Existing laws must allow us have what will be known as Ogbunigwe security outfit for us in the East. We belong to these communities and we know our people better. But any attempt to interfere in the process of recruitment will make it dead arrival,” he noted.
He said the zones need some level of independence since the existing system in the country had failed, adding that the people of the South-east have absolutely lost confidence in the police and even the road safety who have continued to exploit the people in the name of protecting their lives.
Earlier in his address, IG Adamu said that the idea behind the establishment of community policing was part of efforts and strategies put in place by the NPF and aimed at dealing with the increasing rate of insecurity in the country.
He said that the alarming rate of insecurity makes it imperative for the force to collaborate with communities in dealing with the challenge.
“Any security agency that alienates the people it is meant to protect does jot mean well for them. With community policing, we shall be able to identify, dissect and deal with issues of insecurity in our communities,” he said.
He said that this is the sixth in the series of summits held across the country which shows how determined the NPF is in securing lives and property.
“We believe that when we walk in solidarity with our communities, we shall achieve the much desired success and alter the security narrative in the zone,” he said.
All the governors in the zone — Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), and Willie Obiano (Anambra) attended the summit with the exception of Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, who was represented by his Deputy, Prof Placid Njoku.