Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The federal government yesterday announced the approval of N13.3 billion for the take-off of community policing nationwide.
The National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, rising from a virtual meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja, mandated the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and two of his colleagues to meet with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha; the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed; and the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, to coordinate the proper utilisation of the fund.
A statement by Osinbajo’s spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, said the NEC resolution was the outcome of the presentation of its ad-hoc committee’s report on security and policing chaired by Fayemi.
He said the committee reported that engagement with key stakeholders on the actualisation of community policing in different parts of the country was ongoing.
The council, Akande said, deliberated on persistent security crisis ravaging the country, especially the activities of Boko Haram insurgents in the North-east, which he said had remained a major challenge.
The statement added: “Accordingly, the committee would be meeting further as the need arises to update the council on the progress being made to address insecurity and criminality in the country.
“Council was informed that the president has approved a sum of N13.3 billion for the take-off of community policing in the country.
“The VP then asked that a small team comprising the NGF chair, two additional governors, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Finance Minister and the Inspector General of Police should meet to ensure that the federal government’s funding is well utilised,” the statement stated.
Akande said the council also received reports on COVID-19 situation in the country; flood disaster risk management and reimbursement of state governments on funds spent on rehabilitation of federal highways.
The statement added: “Responding to two presentations on the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria: one by NEC’s ad hoc committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, and the other by Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, the state governors commended the efforts and commitment of the federal government in containing the spread of the pandemic and supporting states’ response capacity through various interventions.
“The NCDC report indicates that the positivity rate has fallen from 19.7 per cent in June to 13.7 per cent in August 2020, while a number of states with testing laboratories increased from 2 to 32, including the FCT.”
The statement quoted the report presented to the council as saying, “the average tests per day have risen from 500 at the onset of the outbreak to 3,500 today, while the daily laboratory testing capacity increased to 10,000.”
The statement said among the recommendations made to the council was “that states and FCT should engage the services of the respected community influencers such as the heads of ‘area boys,’ market women, and villagers in disseminating the same message to the grassroots using different modes/media that are common to such people and could easily attract their attention.”
Ahmed also reported to NEC balances in the federation accounts as of August 18.
According to him, the balances are: $72,408,119.44 in excess crude account (ECA); N44, 207, 377,11 0.34 in stabilisation account and N144, 047, 195, 020.54 in natural resources account.”