Community policing: Fayemi makes case for police reform

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Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti has reiterated call for a reform in the Nigeria Police that will ensure purposeful community policing.

Fayemi stated this on Sunday in Ado- Ekiti at the end of a stakeholders’ forum on community policing.

The forum featured heads of security agencies, public servants, politicians, civil society organisations, youth and women organisations, among others.

The governor, represented by the state Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice Wale Fapohunda, said that the establishment of a police ombudsman to receive and address citizens’ complaints and address cases of abuse against police officers had become necessary.

Fayemi stated that community policing would be cardinal to addressing security challenges in the country.

He observed that a wide range of recommendations made at different conferences on how the Nigeria Police could be reformed in the past had not received enough attention.

The governor also called on the Ministry of Police Affairs to engage a reputable audit firm to undertake an audit of the salaries, the wages, allowances of police officers, including manpower and equipment available to the police.

He warned that a police with poor condition of service that was struggling to survive could not deliver the purpose of community policing.“A large number of our people still don’t see police as their friends. So, it seems to me that an important way we can get that trust is through police reform.

“We cannot simply hope to achieve the intent of community policing without police reforms.

“The Federal Government should take seriously the reports of the judicial panel of inquiry that has been set up in the aftermath of the #ENDSARS protests.

“There are many high level reports on police reforms, including two constitutional conferences.

“The tragedy is that the recommendations of the committee and that of constitutional conference had largely been left unattended to.

“We need to look at those reports, bring them back to life and base on those reports agreed on an actionable agenda that is time bound for the use of the country as a whole and for the enhancement of police reforms.

“We absolutely need to revisit the conditions of service of police officers, the situation of police barracks, the situation of police stations and all the allowances entitled to the police.

“There has been too much theory about the need to improve the conditions of service of  police because an unhappy police force cannot deliver community policing, which is crucial,” he said.

In his presentation, former Inspector-General of Police Sunday Ehindero said that tackling security challenges solely from the angle of security personnel had shifted to community stakeholders.

According to him, the stakeholders can now play vital roles in providing intelligence that will assist the security agencies to perform optimally.

Ehindero noted that such approach of community policing was what assisted in the rescue of the abducted Kankara secondary school students in Katsina State.

The Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 17 comprising Ekiti and Ondo State, Mr David Folawiyo, called on the stakeholders to take ownership of community policing.

He said that the inspector-general of police was committed to making constabularies who were nominated by their community to serve in their locality.

In attendance at the forum were the Deputy Governor of Ekiti, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, Secretary to the State Government Biodun Oyebanji, Head of Service in the state, Mrs Peju Babafemi and the state Chief of Staff Biodun Omoleye, among others.(NAN)

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