Thursday 7 June 2012

Community policing will tackle insecurity’

Beefing up security at the grass roots of the domestic economy is one sure way of stamping out the menace of insecurity in the country.
This form the fulcrum of  consensus of participants at the inauguration of the Voluntary Policing Service, also known as the vigilance group, at the Agege Local Government Area, recently.
A non-governmental organisation (NGO), Justice for All, in collaboration with the DFID was the brain behind the inauguration of the voluntary policing service.
Members of the vigilance group were drawn from the Isokoko area of Agege, Lagos who were said to be the first set of voluntary policing personnel who have benefitted from a six months  intensive training programme.
They were said to have received training in modern security tips and  fit to be employed in their suburbs to detect crime and support the police in checking criminality in their area.
Innocent Chukwuma, the Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation and the lead consultant for Justice for All, said the vigilance groups play vital and unique roles in the community in checking crime and criminality.
Chukwuma said: “One of the objectives of  this project is to ensure that the voluntary police service, also known as vigilance group, are accountable to the people and for the community to also hold them accountable.
“The members have been trained on crime scene management and other security tips so that they can complement the police in crime fighting.
“They have been taught their limitations and how to uphold human rights in the course of their work.
“It is imperative that we take the voluntary policing service seriously as they are closest to the people and they can reach places where police vans cannot  get to.”
Chukwuma added that Isokoko in Agege was chosen as the pilot community for the training of vigilante groups in the state, adding that the training would also be replicated in other local government areas in Lagos State and other states in the country.
Justice For All also used the occasion to donate work tools to the vigilante members from Gbogunleri, Isale-Oja, Asade, Adeyemi and Ajegunle.
Omodele Moruf, the president of the Gbogunleri Vigilante Group, said members of his group can work better now with the new tools given to them.
Moruf said: “Justice For All gave us rain coats, rainboots, whistles and flash lights so we can carry out our work better both in the rain and in the sun.
“Criminality was rampant in our area but with the training and support we got from the J4A, we have been doing better and we will do more since our efforts have been recognised.
“We want the federal and state governments to also support us so that we can check crime at the local level.”
Comarade Toyin Balogun, the Community Development Committee Chairman of Agege Local Government Area stated that the training programme has improved security in his domain.
Balogun said: “Security is the business of  everybody and should not be left to the government alone.
“Nobody knows the community better than the vigilante and we have to support them to do their work very well.
“If we get security right at the local government level, then we can tackle crime anywhere in the country.”
Also supporting community policing, Alhaji Musa Mohammed, the leader of the Hausa community in Agege, stated: “We need everybody to work together to fight crime and criminality.
“The police cannot do it alone.
“That is why the vigilante group are supporting them.
“We can do our best to ensure that life and property are safe in our community.”
Also present at the event were traditional leaders from all the major ethnic and religious groups in Agege


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