Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, on Friday, inaugurated a 22-member committee on community policing, saying it was in response to yearnings of citizens for local policing apparatus to check rising security challenges in the state.
The committee is State Community Policing Advisory Committee (SCPAC).
At the ceremony held at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, Makinde said that raising the committee was aimed at deepening the security architecture in the state to enable insecurity issues to be nipped in the bud.
According to him, the committee would help to bolster community policing to check criminal activities and assist the Police and other security agencies to provide and ensure the sustainability of a crime-free society.
The governor said: “The last six weeks or so have been very tasking and challenging due to the criminal activities at the Akinyele axis of the state, not just with the existential threats posed by the COVID-19 global pandemic, but also of emerging security risks confronting the various federating units.”
“Notwithstanding the steady progress made by this administration in partnership with relevant security agencies to ensure the peace and safety of individuals, communities and public property in the state, there is a compelling need to continually deepen and expand our security architecture in such a manner that we can preempt and arrest any untoward development.”
“Of weighty consideration in this regard is the necessity to bolster our community policing apparatus.”
“Urgent steps are, therefore, required to avert a possible breakdown of law and order. It is axiomatic that the security of any state or nation is a shared responsibility between the government, law enforcement agencies, and the people.”
“And, as I have always said, the job of security is too serious, too important and too demanding to be left to law enforcement agencies alone.”
“Community policing provides us with a strong platform to leverage this partnership. Through the collaboration of the police, the people, and the government, it enables us to improve the processes and structures that engender peace-building, preserve our collective security, enhance the credibility of our criminal justice system and deliver better-policing services.”
He recalled that community policing was the subject of the earlier South-West Security Summit held in Oyo State, under the auspices of the Inspector-General of Police.
The governor explained that the inauguration of the committee, therefore, was one of the many steps his administration was taking to build on the security architecture of the state.
He noted that members of the committee reflected the qualities of professionalism, character, competence, leadership, maturity, experience, and diversity expected of such a high-powered assemblage, saying it could not be otherwise because this is an urgent state assignment that requires sacrifice, dedication, tact and wisdom.
Expressing confidence on members of the committees, he said: “I trust in the abilities of these men to liaise with not just the police but all relevant stakeholders to advise, identify and nip problems in the bud before they escalate into full-blown security challenges.”
“I want to emphasise that the three major partners in the community policing process are the people, the police, and the government. In this partnership, the relationship must be such that it is consensus-oriented, promotes accountability, and elicits the appropriate action necessary to preserve our collective peace and security.”
“These must be backed with appropriate and decisive action by the police to elicit goodwill and inspire confidence. One key factor that enables problem-solving is the development and deployment of an incident management programme.”
“In suggesting solutions, we are to prioritize diplomacy and carefully weigh the intended and unintended consequences of any action.”
Makinde, then, congratulated members of the committees and urged them to be guided by the zeal to make the society crime-free.
Earlier in his remark, the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, who was represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Department of Research and Planning, DIG Adeleye Oyebade, noted that the inauguration was in realisation of the important constitutional provision and fundamental requirement the present government was taking to ensure the safety of its citizens.
To guarantee safety, Oyebade maintained that internal security, internal severity requires road map, hence the adoption of Community Policing, which he said, was “an aid to conventional policing strategy.”
He opined: “It is envisioned that the full implementation of the Community Policing will help address or mitigate the security challenges currently confronting us as a nation.”
“The project is therefore, one that is very dear to the Nigeria Police Force whose vision is to be a leading national, professional, efficient law enforcement organisation as it boldly steps out on a genuine mission to provide safety and security in Nigerian communities, protect and respect human rights and promote community partnership in preventing and controlling social order.”
He disclosed that: “The state Community Policing Advisory Committee which us being inaugurated here today, shall be the custodian of community policing in the state. It is the highest advisory committee that also reports to the governor. It is going to be saddled with the responsibility of dealing with community policing policy natters.”
“The committee is also expected to hold a quarterly general meeting to review activities of Community Policing in the local government areas with particular reference to its success or otherwise, challenges and solutions to problems identified,” he stated.
The DIG commended the governor for his proactive steps at ensuring that there was the security of lives and property in the state, adding that the atmosphere of peace was evident in the state.
In his address of welcome, the Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Nwanchukwu Enwonwu, explained that it was a common knowledge that many societies including Nigeria, have embraced Community Policing, because it was seen as a way forward to reach the grassroots and other environments.
The CP noted that this would take the the Nigeria Police to the next level in such a way that would make the police very visible.
“Community Policing is in essence, collaboration between the Police and the community that identifies and solves community related problems.”
“With this in place, the Police will no longer be custodian and order as all members of the community will become active allies in the efforts to enhance the security, safety and quality of the neighborhood watch,” Enwonwu posited.
In his acceptance address, Chairman of the Committee, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Aseyemi III, promised on behalf of other members to discharge their responsibilities to the satisfaction of those who put them there.
The revered traditional ruler, considered his selection as chairman of the community, as a privilege, out of millions of citizens in the state.