By PALANG KASMI
BY way of putting his words into action, to domesticate community policing in Plateau State, the state governor, Rt. Hon Simon Bako Lalong, Monday, convened a peace and security dialogue with key stakeholders in the state, at the Banquet Hall, New Government House, Jos.
According to the Governor, this move has become necessary after outcomes of a recent meeting between North Central States and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) adopted Community Policing as a better tool for dealing with the security situation in the geo-political zone.
Recalling the unfortunate events in his state at Kulben, Kombun District in Mangu Local Government Area, as well as that of Kwatas and other parts of Bokkos LGA which claimed over 30 lives of innocent citizens, with many injured and properties destroyed, the governor said the two events appear to be deliberately orchestrated to test the resolve of government, making the need for initiating community policing necessary.
“The dark days of pain, tears and sorrow will never be allowed to return to Plateau State again. That is why I told the security agencies that the killers must be fished out at all costs because Government will no longer take excuses of “unknown gunmen” who kill and maim at will, we have also directed that the community leaders and Ardos be invited and questioned with a view to assisting the security agencies with information that will lead to the arrest of the killers. I believe they are not ghosts and I am happy that this directive has been acted upon, and sooner than later, those killers will be unmasked and brought before the law to answer for their crimes”.
“We must look ahead and seek ways to forestall reoccurrence. That is why I have convened this enlarged Peace and Security Dialogue with the theme “Domestication of Community Policing In Plateau State: Exploring Indigenous options” with a view to putting forward practical and proactive measures that will address these unacceptable attacks”.
“The dialogue seeks to explore ways towards undertaking a holistic overview of the prevailing security challenges in the State, with specific reference to a community policing model that can better respond to public safety and security.
The governor called on the participants to engage in frank, open and solution-driven interactions that will enable the government key into the Community Policing Model in dealing its security situation more effectively”.
According to Lalong,”We already have structures on ground which are in tandem with the Community Policing model such as the Operation Rainbow, Early warning System, Vigilante Volunteers and Community based Intelligence Volunteers therefore let us ask critical questions as to what we are doing right and what is not working, with a view to making it more effective for guaranteeing the security and safety of lives and property in Plateau State”.
The governor who said he is optimistic about the outcome of the meeting stressed that in order not to discard the already existing security outfits, the dialogue should examine what the conventional security agencies such as the Police, State Security Service, Operation Safe Haven, Civil Defence and related agencies are doing in in the State by creating synergy between their work and that of the Community Policing structure in order to achieve better results
Presenting a paper on the theme of the dialogue, Prof. Dakas C. J. Dakkas said three key pillars, community partnership, organisational transformation and intelligence/proactive problem solving are necessary for community policing to be effective in the state.
He charged the dialogue to consider strategies for funding and effectively using traditional institutions, and already existing structures like hunters group, vigilante groups to strengthen the security in the state.
Other discussants at the forum were heads of the various security apparatus in the state, The Gbong Gwom Jos and Chairman, Plateau State Traditional Council and Emirs, Representatives of religious religious groups, government officials and community leaders.
In a 7-point communiqué issued at the end of the interactive sessions, the participants agreed that community policing as a veritable security option should be pursued at all levels while the Operation Rainbow as a security framework in the state should be strengthened and its capacity increased so as to enable it play its neighborhood watch role, and be a visible channel for intelligence gathering.
While commending the resolve of the North central Governors for the geo-political zone to establish a community policing framework to confront the insecurity threatening the country’s peaceful co-existence, the communiqué advised that a technical committee be set up by government to harmonise the presentations given at the dialogue to evolve a more sustainable Community Policing Framework for immediate implementation in the state.
Other key recommendations of the communiqué acknowledged the role of communities and traditional leaders as key pillars for intelligence gathering calling on government to grant them all the required support needed for them to discharge their responsibility in the overall interest of the state.