Exploring community policing alternative against insecurity in Plateau

Towards providing proactive measures aimed at curbing insecurity, Governor Simon Lalong has set up a technical committee, on community policing. MUHAMMAD TANKO SHITTU writes on the efforts and concerns of others.
Efforts at exploring community alternative to curb insecurity and promote peaceful coexistence for the sustainable progress of people has become great cause for concerns. To that effect, the state governor, Simon Lalong, alongside some communities, youths, religious and traditional leaders have been meeting to strategise towards achieving the goal.

Other states’ initiative on insecurity

It is on record that states in the South-west have fashioned out their own security outfit christened ‘Amotekun’, which triggered lots of issues, the ‘Shege Ka Fasa’, by the Collation of Northern Youths, is aimed at seeking ways of securing the lives and property of citizens. In Plateau, Governor Lalong is more comfortable with the idea of implementing with community policing by exploring indigenous options to strengthen security and ensure peaceful living.It is obvious that the absence of cattle rustling on one hand and destruction of farm produce on the other, notwithstanding, the people and indeed government have for some times experienced some forms of lull from the incidences of massive killings and destruction of properties, but are left to battle mainly with criminalities until January 2020 when the prevailing peace was truncated. Report shows that the unfortunate incident had saddened the governor who saw it as thwarting the relentless efforts at restoring peace and seeming tranquility being hitherto enjoined in the state.

Lalong convened security summit

To further strategise the efforts at consolidating on what was achieved prior to the setback, Gov Lalong convened an enlarged peace and security dialogue meeting with community, youths, women, religious, and traditional leaders at the Government House with a view to putting forward practical and proactive measures that would address those unacceptable attacks.The results of the enlarged security dialogue, according to Lalong, recommended that participants settled for community policing as a veritable security option, saying that it should be pursued at all levels while the existing Operation Rainbow should be strengthened to be a visible channel for intelligence gathering and response. He stated this while inaugurating a 17-man technical committee to develop framework for the community policing.He said, “Our desire is to explore ways towards undertaking a wholistic overview of the prevailing security challenges in the state with specific reference to a community-policing model that can better respond to public safety and security. “Most importantly, the communique recommended the setting up of a technical committee by government to harmonise the presentations and evolve a more sustainable community policing framework for immediate implementation in the state.”According to him, other governors are waiting for the model of the state in order to also set up theirs. “All other governors in the North are saying they are waiting for Plateau state as a model. Not only the north, but the south are also waiting because when my colleagues said they were establishing Ametokun, I showed them the law for Operation Rainbow and they were shocked that Plateau has a model.”Lalong, therefore, tasked the committee to work with due diligence, more so that Nigerians are waiting to see how community policing would work in the country, adding that the state has to be ahead of the criminals that are hell bent on testing the resolve of government. Therefore he said the government would evolve new strategies that are grassroots-based and capable of putting them out of business.The committee, which has a mandate of one month period to submit its report, is been chaired by the state commissioner for justice, Barrister Chris Ahmadu while its members are Professor Dakas C.J. Dakas, representative of the commissioner of police, Dr Chris Kwaja, Dr Jiman Lar, Hon Ezekiel Vuelgap, the state ALGON chairman and His Majesty, Da Jacob Gyang Buba.Others are Prof Yohanna Madaki, representative of SPSP, Prof John Wade, Mr Joseph Lengman, representative of CAN, Sani Bala Tanko (JNI), representative of NCWS, representative of persons with disability as well as representative of Plateau Youth Council and AIG Dorothy Gimba (rtd), whereas, the permanent secretary (security), Mr Cornelius Shiolbial is the secretary of the committee.

The terms of reference for security committee

Governor Lalong said government expects the members to give their best to the assignment as it involves the security and well-being of the people of the  state. He set out their terms of reference to include developing a framework for the domestication and implementation of community policing model in ways that align, compliment or strengthens Operation Rainbow and other community security outfits such as Vigilante and Neighbourhood Watch Groups.”To determine the organisational structure in terms of composition and roles at the state, local government, districts, and community levels respectively; outline and suggest funding modalities to ensure sustainability of the framework; determine the organisational structure in terms of composition and roles at the state, local government, districts and community levels, respectively.Others are, “To outline and suggest funding modalities to ensure sustainability of the framework; develop clear and coherent framework and guidelines for the operation of community policing in Plateau state and to come up with any other recommendation that would ensure its effective implementation as a credible alternative to the conventional security approaches to the problem of insecurity in Plateau state.“Therefore, I urge you to be objective and put the interest of our state above any other consideration,” Gov Lalong urged.

Committee assures of hope

The committee chairman, Barr Ahmadu, assured that they shall bring to bear the passion with which the governor piloted the affairs of the state towards securing lives.He said, “We will try to keep to the time-frame given to us and ensure that whatever recommendations we come up with would be good enough to enable the state achieve the purpose for which this committee was set up.”We assure the people of Plateau state that we would deliver on our mandate in accordance with the terms of reference,” he said.Pilgrims board also pledges support Similarly to consolidate on the effort of government, the executive secretary of the state Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Barrister Auwal Abdullahi, convened his immediate community wards heads within Jos North to a meeting at the board’s conference hall to discuss issues on vigilance, intelligence gathering and community security consciousness.He said, “The meeting is to foster peace and unity that would help to fight insecurity in our communities. “As grassroots leaders, the first step on security starts with you. There is the need for proactive step to oversee the nonchalant attitudes of some parents over their children for a better society.”According him, as community leaders, they need to device means of checkmating insecurity that is posing threats right from the communities to the local government and subsequently state levels, adding that as community leaders, they should work hard to also assist Governor  Lalong administration’s efforts at promoting peaceful co-existence as well as revenue generation for the good of the state.”We have not had a concerned governor like Simon Lalong; so, we should pray for him and also support him to restore and sustain peace in the state,” he said. The speaker of the group, Malam Ahmad Rufa’i, said they have been doing their best in the area of vigilance and security issues, but assured that they would do more.He said the executive secretary has been engaging them on issues of peace, security and how to help the government towards peace which goes to show that they are still relevant to peace.It is certain that with those efforts in place, it seems  that security indeed is everybody’s business and as the people of the state wait patiently for the report and recommendations of the technical community, it is expected that sincere and objective consideration to all people in the state would be advanced for everlasting peace to prevail.

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