The disclosure by President Muhammadu Buhari to the effect that he has approved N13.3billion for the take-off of the community policing initiative across the 36 states of the country underscores the determination of the president to match action with his words that he leave office a failure.
President Buhari said on Monday in Abuja at a two-day Mid-Term Ministerial Performance Review Retreat organised to assess progress made towards the achievement of the nine key priorities of his administration, that the federal government plan to commence local production of weapons for the military to avoid the nation’s over reliance on foreign countries.
The president also used the occasion of the retreat, the third edition since the second term of his administration, to highlight some of the federal government’s notable achievements in the last two years.
He listed his administration’s accomplishments in the areas of infrastructure, transportation, economy, electricity supply and the petroleum industry, among others.
Buhari said the approval of the sum for take-off of community policing and the local production of military weapons, were part of measures to consolidate efforts at enhancing security nationwide.
He said the local production of military weapons was being implemented under the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), a military department responsible for arms manufacture.
On other efforts to strengthen national security, the president said it was gratifying to note that Nigeria had received six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft. He said the propeller-driven aircraft were being used for training, surveillance and attack by the military.
Buhari said: “As part of the efforts towards strengthening our national security, we have increased investments in arms, weapons and other necessary equipment; expanded the National Command and Control Centre to 19 states of the federation; and established a Nigeria Police Trust Fund, which will significantly improve funding for the Nigeria Police Force.
“We have also approved the sum of N13.3 billion for the take-off of the Community Policing initiative across the country, as part of measures adopted to consolidate efforts aimed at enhancing security nationwide.”
On the power sector, the president said the implementation of a ‘Willing Buyer-Willing Seller’ policy had opened up opportunities for increased delivery of electricity to underserved homes and industries.
He expressed the hope that the execution of critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme would result in achieving the national goal of improved power supply by 2025.
On the Petroleum Industry Act signed into law on August 16, the president reiterated his directive to the implementation committee to complete all processes for the successful operationalisation of the Act within 12 months.
The president further revealed that he approved the expansion of the National Social Register (NSP) by one million additional households to empower the youth and other vulnerable groups in the country.
The NSP is the official database for the implementation of the Conditional Cash Transfer program.
He warned all ministers and permanent secretaries to take seriously all issues relating to the implementation of their mandates towards the attainment of the laudable objectives of the government.
The president concluded his address at the opening of the retreat with the unveiling of the Presidential Priorities Performance Management System.
He explained that the Performance Management System and Dashboard, which had been in effect since January this year, had provided him the opportunity to track projects in real-time with live data.
“In our continuing drive to ensure accountability, we have incorporated a Performance Management Framework into the functions of the Central Delivery Coordination Unit for ease of tracking of the Ministerial Deliverables along the lines of the nine priority areas of this administration.
On the economy, President Buhari said the nation witnessed three consecutive quarters of growth, after negative growth rates recorded in the second and third quarters of 2020.
In view of the importance of this year’s retreat, the president said he would sit through all the sessions to listen to the cumulative assessment of this administration’s performance over the last two years.
The president said he would join in discussions on the best approach and strategies to implement planned policies, programmes and projects that can significantly diversify the economy away from its dependence on oil revenue, while sustaining the current economic growth trajectory.
It is noteworthy that the debate on the propriety or otherwise of adopting the concept of either community policing or state police for Nigeria has been in the front burner in public space for quite some time. Advocates of community policing, otherwise referred to as vigilante, are of the opinion that it is the most veritable means to check the rising insecurity, particularly the Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, among others crimes, across the country.
It is, therefore, quite appropriate for President Buhari, who had vowed recently that he will not leave office in 2023 as a failed president, to give effect to the concept of community policing. We share the view that community policing rather than state police will go a long way in achieving one of the tripods of the pillar on which the Buhari government is anchored – the fight against insecurity.
Community policing will also, by extension, help in achieving the other goals of the administration, which are the fight against corruption and the revitalisation of the economy.