By Monday Ijeh
The President, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (CSLS), Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George, SAN, has called for an Executive Order to decentralise and activate community policing under the new Police Act, 2022.
Akinseye-George made the call on Thursday in Abuja at a public consultation on “Legal and Policy Options for Decentralising Policing in Nigeria” organised by CSLS.
According to him, with the growing level of insecurity in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari can issue an Executive Order to activate community policing under the new Police Act, 2022 without delay.
He cautioned against the use of the security situation in the country for blame game and added that it was time for Nigerians to come together to support the decentalisation of policing.
The CSLS president said the idea was to ensure that the process of government and law enforcement was being felt in every nook and cranny of the country.
“It is important at this stage of our history that, there should be effective presence of law enforcement in every village, market places, trail stations, airports and religious institutions.
“This can only be possible if policing becomes a partnership between the community and the police as being provided for in the new Police Act, 2022.
“The Act provides for community Policing and so, there should be massive recruitment and training of able body youth into the Nigeria police,” he said.
He called for joint payment for policing by the government and the communities, adding that it was time for citizens to organize themselves to protect the country’s democracy.
Akinseye-George said law enforcement was key to economic progress and national security and so, must be a joint business for all Nigerians.
“Many people are involved in negative acts, not because they want to be there, but voluntarily, they found themselves in it, especially banditry, kidnapping and terrorism.
“Government must provide alternatives to make the people believe in it and see reasons to give up the negative acts,” he added.
The Lead Presenter at the Public Consultation, Prof. Edoba Omoregie SAN said the decentalisation of policing system in Nigeria had become imperative in view of concerns about insecurity in the country.
He said the argument against the decentalisation of policing for fear of hijack by political actors at the sub national levels was no longer necessary.
My view is that there is already hijack even at the national level. So it is not only sub national hijack alone, so we should be afraid of misuse of police at all levels.
“That should not stop us from moving forward and that is why my proposal for the decentralisation is focused on its key elements.
“Since policing is a public good at all levels, there must be some level of capacity on the part of the lower level of government to be able to respond,” he said.
He said the idea for the decentralization was to have Local and State Government policing system while retaining the federal police,
According to him, with the decentralisation, the federal police will be confined to the enforcement of federal laws, the laws that involves interstate issues.
He said the adoption of the principle of democratic policing that ensures that the police have a mechanism for adherence to the rule of law was key to the decentralization of policing in any nation. (NAN)