…Says Police stretched to the limits
…’Local policing not an effort to hijack role of federal police or compete with FG’
As controversy over the legality of ‘Operation Amotekun’, the security outfit set up by governors of the South West rages, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has thrown his weight behind the decentralisation of policing in the country.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election backed the floating of community, state and regional security outfits to complement the efforts of the Federal Government controlled police in combating crime.
Atiku in a statement by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, on Sunday, said government can employ different layers of measures to ensure effective and efficient policing in line with the Nigerian constitution that says the primary responsibility of government, at any level is the protection of lives and property of the citizen.
According to him, the current policing administration in the country had been stretched to its limits and it is obvious that the reality of domestic security upheaval will demand for recalibration of the police system.
Presently, he said there is hardly any state of the federation that does not contend with some type of security challenges which are diverse in forms and impacts, making it incumbent that centrally controlled police architecture cannot exclusively deal with those challenges.
Consequently, Atiku said that there is need for the creation of additional policing structures in the country to address the rapidly growing challenges of insecurity and crime.
In support of decentralisation of policing, Atiku said that “local policing shouldn’t be mistaken for an effort to hijack the role of the federal police or a competition with the Federal Government.
“The obvious inadequacies of the federal police to effectively deal with these rapidly growing security challenges make local policing not only desirable, but also necessary.
“The police are more likely to be effective in areas where they are well known and trusted by the local communities who in turn are willing to share information about known criminals and criminal activities, thereby foiling those crimes before they are even carried out.
“It is a given perception that when people have a role in their own security, they are going to help to defeat the criminal in their tracks and that the more they are involved, the more likely they would perceive the police as their friends.
“In the envisaged new order, states and local governments shouldn’t be reduced to peripheral players in policing and security matters.
When local police structures are closest to the grassroots, emergency response will be more effective than the current unwieldy chain of command that renders local government chairmen ineffective when their people are under attacks.
“As a matter of fact, it is refusing to adopt new ways of doing things that poses a threat to the unity of the country.”
He said time is ripe to seriously confront the reality of insecurity in the country by addressing the urgency of introducing state police, zonal police and community policing to complement the efforts of the current federal police.
“It is obvious that current levels of insecurity in the country are giving rise to major initiatives such as Amotekun and the issue need not be controversial in the first place.
“The police are likely to be more effective if they constantly operate in the same local community or local government because such closeness might create a bond with the local people, thereby enabling community cooperation and participation that would engender proactive outcomes in crime prevention,” he added.