By Wale Ibrahim, Lokoja
ActionAid Nigeria urges the Nigeria Police to reinvigorate its Community Policing Unit to build public trust in the force for effective communication and collaboration to address insecurity.
This was contained in a communique issued at the end of a one-day round table advocacy meeting on Community Policing, organized by ActionAid Nigeria in collaboration with Participation Initiatives for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) in Lokoja, the Kogi State.
The communique was signed by Anicetus Atakpu , Acting Coordinator, Humanitarian and Resilience Unit, ActionAid Nigeria and Halima Sadiq, Program Officer, PIBCID.
It noted that shielding of criminals by communities and parents was one of the major challenges in criminal justice in the country adding that there was need for attitudinal change between community members and the police.
“The Police must be civil and friendly when dealing with community members. There is need to build trust between the Police and Community through constant and periodic meetings and sensitization.
The communique also stressed the need for the Police to be proactive in relating with communities in dealing with security issues while the communities on the other hand, must be sincere in their engagements with the Police.
“Communities need capacity strengthening in relation to providing the Police with useful information while the Police must put in place a system for ensuring confidentiality of information received from the communities.”
It said that respect for laws and Human Rights was key adding that the meeting aimed to strengthen the Community Policing Unit of the Kogi State Police Command in preventing violent extremism.
According to the communique, the meeting is also aimed at forming a strong linkage between the police and ActionAid’s Community Action Response Team (CART) Project in four rural communities.
The communities include Osara, Osaragada/Aku in Adavi and Ofuloko and Okpakpata communities Igalamela-Odolu Local Government Areas of the state.
It said that the meeting which had in attendance representatives of Kogi Commissioner of Police, Senior Special Assistant to Kogi Governor on Security as well as Police Officers from the four target communities of the CART and Civil Society Organizations.
It alleged that communities and parents also have contributed to the insecurity by shielding suspected criminals and failing to obey laws adding that insecurity was fueled by poor or lack of education.