By Omon-Julius Onabu
Few days after announcing plans to establish an independent joint security outfit for the state, the Delta State Government has taken another step to kick-off community policing as Governor Ifeanyi Okowa yesterday inaugurated two committees on community policing.
He noted that the task of securing lives and property or reducing crime to the barest minimum in any given society was too all-inclusive and cumbersome to be left to the police and other security agencies alone.
They are the State Community Policing Advisory Committee (SCPAC) and the State Community Policing Committee (SCPC).
At the ceremony in Asaba, attended by stakeholders, including the Nigeria Police, the Army, traditional rulers, religious leaders, lawyers, the media and community leaders, Okowa said the move was in response to yearnings of citizens for an effective local policing machinery to arrest growing security challenges in the state.
He expressed the hope that the committees would deepen the security architecture in the state by complementing the efforts of the police and other security agencies to promptly thrash out security issues before they impacted negatively on the communities and the environment.
Okowa said, “The last six weeks or so have been very tasking and challenging, not just with the existential threats posed by the COVID-19 global pandemic but also of emerging security risks confronting the various federating units.
“Notwithstanding the steady progress made by this administration in partnership with relevant security agencies to ensure the peace and safety of individuals, communities and public property in the state, there is a compelling need to continually deepen and expand our security architecture in such a manner that we are able to preempt and arrest any untoward development.
“Of weighty consideration in this regard is the necessity to bolster our community policing apparatus as the monsters of farmers/herdsmen clashes, cultism, small arms and light weapons proliferations, kidnapping, armed robbery, and other violent crimes appear to be on the resurgence.
“Urgent steps are, therefore, required to avert a possible breakdown of law and order. It is axiomatic that the security of any state or nation is a shared responsibility between the Government, law enforcement agencies and the people.
“And, as I have always said, the job of security is too serious, too important and too demanding to be left to law enforcement agencies alone.
“Community policing provides us with a strong platform to leverage on this partnership. Through the collaboration of the police, the people and the Government, it enables us to improve the processes and structures that engender peace-building, preserve our collective security, enhance the credibility of our criminal justice system and deliver better policing services.’’
The governor recalled that community policing was the subject of the South-South Security Summit held in Asaba in November, 2019 at the behest of the Inspector-General of Police, adding that the inauguration of the committees was one of the many steps his administration was taking to build on the momentum so generated.
He noted that members of the committees reflected the qualities of professionalism, character, competence, leadership, maturity, experience and diversity expected of such a high-powered assemblage, saying it could not be otherwise because this is an urgent state assignment that requires sacrifice, dedication, tact and wisdom.
“I trust in the abilities of these men to liaise with not just the police but all relevant stakeholders in order to advise, identify and nip problems in the bud before they escalate into full blown security challenges.
“I want to emphasise that the three major partners in the community policing process are the people, the police and the government. In this partnership, the relationship must be such that it is consensus-oriented, promotes accountability and elicits the appropriate action necessary to preserve our collective peace and security.”
Earlier, the Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, who was represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, Michael Ogbizi, said that the inauguration marked the commencement of community policing in Delta State.
While commending the governor for his proactive steps at ensuring that there was security of lives and property in the state, the I-P expressed confidence that the committees would “take the right steps to ensure that there is peace and crime is reduced to the barest minimum in the state’’.
Others who spoke at the event were Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 5, Mr. D.P. Yakadi and Commissioner of Police, Delta Command, Hafiz Inuwa.
Members of SCPAC are the Chairman of Delta State Council of Traditional Rulers, Obi Emmanuel Efeizomor II (co-Chairman); Commissioner of Police, Hafiz Inuwa (co-Chairman); Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim Jallo (Nigerian Army), Mr. Ademola Adebiyi (DSS), Cmdt Chike Ikpeamaonwu (NSCDC), Ocheja Ameh (FRSC) and Comptroller Ibrahim Liman (Immigration).
Others are Mr. Friday Ovie (Nigeria Correctional Service), Prof. Epiphany Azinge (Rep. Delta North),
AIG Felix Ogbudu (retd) (Rep Delta South), Chief James Omeru (Rep. Delta Central), Alhaji Biliamin Emiko (NSCIA), Rev. Ejiniewe Joseph (CAN), and Amb. Prosper Ojoh (PCRC).
The SCPC has The Asagba of Asaba, Obi (Prof.) Chike Edozien as Co-Chairman, Mr. Mamman Rijau, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Department of Operations (Co-Chairman); Alhaji Billamin Emiko (NSCIA), Rev. Ejiniewe Joseph (CAN), Marshall Prosper Ojoh (PCRC), Dr. Kehinde Taiga (Civil Society Organisation), Comrade Goodluck Oforbruku (Labour Unions), Mrs. Agatha Ajede (NCWS), Comrade Kelly Umukoro (NYCN), Barr. Fred Erulu-Ede (NBA), and Comrade Michael Ikeogwu (NUJ).