The launching of Community Policing to help curtail the security challenges in the country is now the cause of conflict in Puluya, one of the areas in Mpape Community under Bwari area council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Also, it has become a business opportunity for some persons in Puluya to use people and make money for their personal interests. A group with one Mr. Equity as its leader has claimed to be in-charge of the security in Puluya and has allegedly been going round to collect N500, 000 per each member of the community in the name of Community Policing.
This same group alleged that the AIG in-charge of Abuja and the DPO of Mpape Police Station met with its leader, other heads of security in Mpape Community and ordered that anyone who refuses to pay the amount in question, his or her contact, name and house address should be sent to the police for arrest.
However, before the formulation of the Equity’s group, there was a group led by one Chief Collins, for the same purpose. Now, the present group has excluded Chief Collins’ group from the formulation and execution of the Community Policing in Puluya. Another source has alleged that even Chief Collins and his group were not the first people that initiated the idea. The same source accused Chief Collins and his group of attempting to hijack the Community Policing from the initiators of the idea for selfish interest.
The IGP sir, looking at the arguments upon the Community Policing in Puluya, and the activities of those heading it, it is necessary to suspect and question the credibility or integrity of those involved.
Sir, I don’t want to believe the claim of the Equity and his men because I have been following this issue very closely and at a point, I reported the same Equity and his team to the DPO of Mpape Police Station for allegedly using threats to force those who were not comfortable with their operation to comply with their demand in the presence of Mr. Equity.
The DPO disagreed and quarrelled with him for using the office of the DPO to carry out an operation he knew nothing about. It is strange that after few weeks of my meeting with the DPO on the same subject and the warning issued, Mr. Equity would call for a meeting and claimed that he met the AIG and the same DPO in company of other persons. Thereafter, they were empowered to forward the names, phone numbers and house addresses of those who would refuse to pay the N500, 000 monthly as security levy to finance the Community Policing, for arrest.
I stand to be corrected that the police have no constitutional right to collect or empower anybody or group of persons, to collect any amount of money from people in the name of Community Policing and arrest those who don’t have money to pay or don’t want to pay.
If collecting money from the community members is necessary, it has nothing to do with the police but must be within the understanding and the agreement of the concerned community/its members. My investigation revealed that Mr. Equity and his team use the name of the police and threat to force people to comply with their demand. It is totally wrong.
Notwithstanding, no one has to be forced by the police or a group to pay anything in order to finance Community Policing. Community policing should not be an opportunity for anyone or group of persons to exploit and extort other members of the community.
If any person or group of persons wants to do something for the community and wished that members of the community contribute in any way, such should call for a meeting to dialogue with the community members and should be able to convince members to contribute willingly without any form of force or intimidation.
For a group of individuals with few members to come together and make a decision, excluding the larger members of the community from her meetings and deliberations, thereafter imposed their resolution on the entire community with an intimidation that if people refuse to comply, their names, phone numbers and house addresses would be sent to an AIG and a DPO for arrest, is a complete madness that must be addressed.
I call on the IGP to look into this matter and address it now before it is too late.
Terwase writes from Mpape, Abuja, via [email protected]