Abia Oil Communities Advocate Community Policing

By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu

Members of two oil producing communities in Abia State, Owaza and Umuorie both in Ukwa West local government area of the state have advocated the adoption of community policing to complement the efforts of the police and other security agencies in securing their environments.

The communities made this appeal during a one day sensitisation workshop on voluntary principles on security and human rights organised by CLEEN Foundation.

The communities in their various resolutions opined that community policing would enhance the security of their communities-lives and property and facilities of the oil companies operating in the areas.

They also maintained that community policing would not only complement the efforts of police but would also help maintain law and order in their communities.

According to the people of Owaza and Umuorie, community policing would only yield positive results when people with proven integrity are recruited.

They further advocated regular interface between the police and operatives of the comunity police; periodic training of the operatives of the community police by security agencies; and provision of logistics as means of boosting the morale of the operatives.

In his remarks, the programme officer of CLEEN Foundation, Ifeanyi Anyanwu said that the workshop is part of the series of workshops organised by the Foundation aimed at integrating the people of the areas in the extractive activities going on in their environment.

He charged the people to start seeing themselves stakeholders and active players in the extractive sector.

Anyanwu disclosed that in the previous workshops that a human rights working groups were constituted in the communities to track human rights abuses by security agents attached to oil companies in the areas and report same to the foundation to look for a way of resolving them.

Abia State Coordinator of Southeast Governance Network, SEGON and Niger-Delta Anti- Corruption Network,NIDAN, Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor in his speech ,urged members of the communities to make maximum use of the things learnt at the workshops for their benefit.

He commended CLEEN Foundation for organising such wonderful programmes.

Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs) are non- binding laws established in 2000 to offer guidance to extractive companies(oil,gas and mining companies)in maintaining the safety and security of the facilities and operations with respect for human rights.

The three elements of Voluntary Principles are Risk Assessment, Interaction with Public Security, and Interaction with Private Security.

Community policing is a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies, which support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques, to pro actively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.

In some instances some members of a community are organised into a security outfit to police their environment. This security outfit complements the efforts of the police by volunteering information to police and even sometimes, arresting culprits and handing them over to the police.

Community Policing becomes very necessary in Nigeria where it is alleged that the country is grossly under-policed.