Ohanaeze Kicks Against Community Policing, Demands ‘Operation Ogbunigwe’

The South East Governors’ decision to adopt the federal government’s community policing model has been rejected by the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

At Wednesday’s South-East Security Summit that held in Enugu, governors from the region reached the decision to adopt the federal government’s community policing model, saying it is “totally in tandem with what we are doing”.

But at the meeting which had the Inspector General of Police in attendance, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo disagreed with the governors’ stance and declared the government’s community policing as “dead on arrival”.

The Chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi, who spoke on behalf of the governors, had said “We reached a satisfactory and acceptable decision and agreement.”

Umahi added, “The IG’s presentation was not different from “our neighbourhood watch, our vigilante operation and forests guard, the herdsmen and farmers peace community among others. “When we saw that this is totally in tandem with what we are doing, we decided as your governors to embrace the initiative of community policing.”

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But Chief Nnia Nwodo, who is the president of the Igbo group, said the South-East should be allowed to form their own security network, as is being done in the South West with ‘Operation Amotekun’.

Nwodo said, “Mr IGP, our farms have been devastated and the herders that devastated our farms carry AK-47 rifles. You cannot be talking about community policing when the people you want to supervise, you do not understand their language.

“Your legal architecture doesn’t take into consideration that our governors, by the constitution, are the chief security officers of their various states, and this gives them the responsibility to protect the lives and property of their citizens.  So when you begin to talk about recruitment, with the commander and control, and you do not share with the governors and representatives at the local areas this command and control and recruitment, this exercise is dead on arrival.”

In his address, IGP Adamu had explained how community policing would function when established.

“The community policing model is one that will draw on the legal opportunities provided by the Police Act for the engagement of special constables who will be engaged as community policing officers under the coordination of the Nigeria Police Force toward evolving a community-focused policing architecture,” said the police chief.

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