In a bid to tackle the growing insecurity challenges in the country, the federal government has concluded plans to resuscitate the abandoned $470million national public security communication system.
Already, technicians are currently inspecting the vandalised Abuja and Lagos closed-circuit television cameras for repairs and are expected to present a report on their assessment soon.
The federal government noted yesterday that security forces were already deploying technology such as CCTV, drones and other security gadgets to track down criminals, just as it said the nationwide CCTV project was being reactivated to further enhance the efficiency of the security agencies.
Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Dingyadi, disclosed this during a briefing on his stewardship in his one year in office and to mark the one-year anniversary of the reestablishment of the ministry.
LEADERSHIP Weekend recalls that he contract for the CCTV project was awarded in 2010 to a Chinese firm , ZTE Nigeria Ltd, to provide audio, video and data information for use by the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies.
The contract which provides for installation of five components, including the video surveillance system as well as comprehensive, reliable, and robust public security communication technology, was abandoned in 2011, just as the installations were vandalised.
Dingyadi also said community policing was driven by the need to take policing closer to communities.
He stated: “The idea is to improve on existing police/community partnership to guarantee community ownership of policing efforts, for better intelligence gathering, insulate manpower gaps, resolve communal clashes in affected areas and build goodwill trust and confidence for sound policing.
“State and local government implementation committees have been set up in all the states of the federation, while recruitment of constabularies in local government is in progress”.
The minister further stated that in the past year, the ministry had recorded a lot of successes in efforts to match the increasing crime rate across the country with actions to drastically reduce the problem.
Also speaking, the Inspector-general of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, gave an insight into how the N13billion approved by the federal government for the implementation of the community policing programme would be spent.
Adamu said the money would be used to organize town hall meetings for sensitization, trainings for the community police officers, as well as the purchase of equipment required for the initiative, among others.
The IGP who said they had already gone far in the implementation of the community policing initiative explained that at the moment, they were in the process of recruiting community police officers.
Adamu issued a stern warning to vigilante and neighborhood watch groups across the country againsy the possession of arms.
He said, “If you are caught with an illegal weapon you will be prosecuted and you will go to jail. For the benefit of doubt, anybody seen with any prohibited firearms will be arrested and prosecuted.
“Even if you are a recognised vigilante group called by any name that is given to you by the state government that created you as a vigilante group or neighbourhood watch created to help law enforcement agencies in fighting crime, if you carry firearms that you are not licensed, you will be prosecuted and you will go to jail.”
On how community policing would work, he said, “Community policing is a strategy. It is not a new police structure that is being created but within the police we restrategize and then bring in community based initiatives.
“The idea and what we are implementing is that the community should take responsibility for policing. The implementation has gone far. So far we have inaugurated state community policing advisory committees in all the states. And that advisory committee comprises the community leaders, representatives of faith-based organizations, representatives of market women, representatives of National Union of Transport Workers, students etc.
“At the local government level we also have the same strategy represented by the same group of community leaders. At the local government level again we have community policing committee which will have the same people from the wards and villages. This committee is the one that would help us identify within the wards and the villages their own citizens and natives who are able bodied.
“We would select them and train them as community policing officers and send them back to their communities where they come from. We have reached this stage already. Now we are at the stage of recruitment.”
Again, NAF Fighter Jets, Helicopter Gunships Bomb Terrorists Camp In Borno
Meanwhile, airstrikes of the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole have destroyed Boko Haram structures and killed several fighters at Warshale in the Northern part of Borno State.
The coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, said the mission was executed on Wednesday under subsidiary operation HAIL STORM, after credible intelligence reports and series of aerial surveillance missions had established that the settlement was one of those being used by the terrorists as a staging area to launch attacks.
He said the air task force accordingly dispatched Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jets and attack helicopters that engaged the location, recording devastating hits, resulting in the obliteration of several structures, as well as the neutralisation of some of the terrorists.
He restated that the Armed Forces of Nigeria, operating in concert with other security agencies and stakeholders, will sustain its efforts to rid the North-east of all terrorists and other criminal elements.
Community Policing Will Argument Force’s Capacity – Ortom
Meanwhile, Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, yesterday declared that community policing will augment the capacity and the strength of the Nigeria police Force.
Ortom who stated this while speaking journalists in Abuja said the N13.5billion that was approved for community policing will support the logistics of training the recruits whom he said will report to the police but will also work hand in hand with vigilante groups.
He also reiterated his suggestion that licence for sophisticated guns should be issued to responsible Nigerians, noting that it is genuine and reflective of his passion for Benue and Nigerians.
Noting that it was left for the federal government to look at his suggestion, the governor stressed that the call was for an update of an existing law which grants license for Dane guns which are no match for what bandits and killer herdsmen use when they attack.
He said, “On community policing, this is a policy that all the North-central Governors and the Inspector General of Police met some time ago and we jointly agreed to augment the capacity and the strength of the Nigeria police. We need to do something that will arise from the community to support the police.
“So, it is a policy that we engaged the rural people and government is told to find ways of giving them stipends but the police will train these recruits. Already, we have done the recruitment from all the 276 wards. So, I think the next thing is for the training to take place. I believe that the N13.5billion that was approved will support the logistics of training these people, otherwise we had undertaken that the local governments and states will jointly see how they can provide stipends so that these people will report to the police and support the police but they will work hand in hand with vigilante groups.
“We have arrested about 400 herdsmen and some are not even Fulanis but majority of them are Fulanis and we have prosecuted them. Today, we have convicted more than 130 herdsmen who are already serving various jail terms and some have paid fines. We have arrested over 9000 cattle but as the law stipulates, once you pay fine we release them to you and you transport them. You no longer go on foot with those cattle within Benue State.
“The issue of foreign herdsmen coming; I am happy that the Inspector General of Police some few days ago did say that these herdsmen are not Nigerians. That is what I said about two to three years ago. I knew it. I am not a security expert but as governor I receive briefing and I was able to do my independent investigation and know that these people are coming for an agenda, Nigerians must wake up. If we don’t wake up we will all be consumed.”
On the issuance of gun licence to responsible Nigerians, the governor said, “I heard people complaining that Ortom called for Nigerians to be allowed to carry sophisticated weapons and that it would bring about anarchy. What about the Fulani herdsmen who are carrying AK-47 rifles and kidnapping innocent Nigerians, raping our women and destroying our villages and towns and becoming a terror to us. How about them? Why can’t we collect these sophisticated weapons from them?
“How many of them have been arrested? I am aware that some have been apprehended but majority of them are still there with those AK-47. This is a suggestion that the federal government should take up seriously because in America people are licensed to carry sophisticated weapons but life is still going on. It is left for the federal government to look at it if my suggestion can be carried but for me. I still stand with my suggestion”.