Community Policing: A Panacea For Combating Crime  In Nigeria.

By Babatunde Joseph Oduntan
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A HOMELAND security expert, Mr. Austin Buraimoh, a member of the country’s Police Service Commission (PSC) inaugurated in July 2018, has called on all Nigerians to support the efforts been made by the administration of President Muhammed Buhari to reform the long neglected Nigerian Police Force to meet international standard to combat the growing menace of crime in the country.

He made the call on Wednesday 5th June 2019 in a public radio interview in Osogbo, Osun state, Nigeria.

Mr. Buraimoh, the media representative for the commission observed that the Nigerian Police Force, since the intervention of the military in governance in the country, has suffered great neglect with respect to funding, recruitment, training, remuneration, promotion, inappropriate weaponries, etc. These laspses he says in away affected the effective and efficient performance of the organization over the years in combating crime in the country.

The Police Commission, an administrative agency for recruitment, discipline, promotion and policy implimentation for staff development in the Nigeria polic force, the commissioner says is made up of seven members and report on the review of their activities indicated that the police force is faced with myriads of problems that the government has to promptly address to make it function properly as an institution.

Amongst these problems he says are: anomalies in staff promotion( some enjoyed the opportunity of regular promotion, while many stayed on the same post for several years without promotion), offices are poorly equipped, officers were denied regular training opportunity as when due, a lot of politics are involvled in the recruitment of staff and modern weapons for fighting crimes are not available and those available are obsolete for the present day use in combating crimes.

Government to fight the escalation of crime in the country he says is making effort to fund and re-organize the Nigerian Police Force.

Early this year, based on their report and recommendation he said, some officers in the Nigerian police force were promoted for their hard work and diligent service to the nation, while a few officers were recommended for dismissal for varying offences they committed.

Mr. Buraimoh also stressed the low staff population of the Nigerian Police force as a bottle-neck in fighting crime in a country with a population of about 200 million people.

He is however happy the government is planning to recruit more people into the police force to increase its present staff population of 400,000 to 600,000 to enhance the success of its fight against crime in the country.

The Hournorable Commissioner who is strongly against the establishment of a ‘State Police’ in the country, calls on the government not to decentralize the Nigerian police force as this will propagate or brew ethnicity and tribalism which may hinder the dispensation of justice to poor Nigerians and may bring division rather than unite the people.

"Many rich and well placed people in communities in the country buy their way through with the police for bail or to pervert justice when their children, friends or any close member of their family are found guilty of any crime in the community. This is bad and will not enhace an ideal society we all want for peace," he said.

The recommendation of the Human Rights Commission for the establishment of a state police in the country he says has generated public debate amongst Nigerians. "Personally i feel it is not the recipe or solution for the present insecurity facing the nation," he said.

He says people look at the police with high esteem and expect much from them with respect to fighting crimes in the community. "Nigerians apply 'Cobra' approach to solving national problems and this does not bring any solution. Since 2009 when the Boko Haram issue started in the country, nobody has asked questions as to why it took the Nigerian Armed Forces many difficult years to defeat the Islamic terrorist group in the country,"he said.

People in communities in the country he says have to police themselves to combat crimes. "We are not saying they should carry arms, but they should however be involved in inteligence gathering and information sharing with the police and other security agents in the country to check crime in their community," he said.

"The criminals are people who live within the community and amongst us and yet we find it so difficult to fish them out, this is terrible and saddening," he said.

He advocates for the establishment of community policing in the country to enhance unity and to curb crimes and banditry in states across the nation.

The success of combating crimes in the country Mr. Buraimoh says is based on the closeness and support of the people with the police. Curbing crimes in the society he says, needs the combined efforts and co-operation of Kings, Emirs, traditional Chiefs, Religious Leaders and the people themselves who live and know each other better than the police in villages, towns and cities in the country.

He says a national conference or summit is needed for Nigerians to discuss and find quick solution to the present rate of crime in communities across the entire nation.

He urged the people to report strange or suspicious people in their community to the police in good time for interrogation before they carry out their nefarious acts that will endanger the people and community.

Towards combating crimes in the country he says, the Nigerian Armed Forces since the inception of the present administration have annually conducted different military operations in states around the country to sensitize the public on their readiness to fight insecurity and ensure the safety of lives and property in the country.

Government in the South West states of the country has with the combined efforts and colaboration of the military, police and other security agents established ‘Operation Puff-Adder’ to combat kidnapping, banditry and other crimes rampant in the area.

Mr. Buraimoh for the success of government's efforts in combating crime in the country, wants government to increase budget fund for the police force, solve accomodation problems, make remuneration more attractive, train and retrain special unit officers, increase recruitment standard, provide appropriate vehicles, modern technology and weapons for surveilance, reporting and fighting of crimes in the country.

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