2nd February, 2021
By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
The Director-General of the Rivers Neighborhood Watch Safety Corps, Dr Uche Mike Chukwuma, a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, has revealed that the state government will roll out its security outfit in March.
The DG in an interview with journalists in Port Harcourt said Governor Nyesom Wike has assured that the security outfit will commence operations this year.
“The Governor has indicated that within the first quarter of this year, the operations of the neighbourhood safety corp agency will be rolled out.
“One thing you need to know about the Governor is that he doesn’t speak much, but when he speaks, he swings into action.
“We are expecting that between now and end of this quarter, we will do what we need to do for the state – giving back the security of the state to the people where we have to liaise with the community leaders, traditional rulers and operational bodies and then return the security back to the people where they can make contributions without the fear of molestation, without the fear of their information been taken back to the source whereas they wanted it to be treated as an issue of secrecy”.
Chukwuma, an author of many books on police and policing in Nigeria faulted the operational structure of the Nigeria Police Force for not accommodating community policing.
“The fact remains that we have been running an old policing system since 1861, doing the same thing all over and expecting to get a different result. It is not possible.
“We inherited policing from the British and since then, we have moved from the political era of policing into the community policing era where policing is in the hands of the people, and that is why in the community policing, you see the community as the police, but still working with the police.
“But here in Nigeria, the central control of directives lie with the police even when they said they are getting the traditional rulers into the security of their community, what power or rights do they have? What voice do they have? At what point are they coming in to play a role in the decision making in the police”
Uche Chukwuma also frowned at the manner the recently recruited special constabularies were deployed, noting that the action negates the principle behind community policing.
Recall that initial attempt by the Wike administration to establish a state owned security outfit was frustrated by the Nigeria Army on November 29, 2018 when the training of the recruits was disrupted by soldiers.
The Army said it disrupted the training because its investigations revealed that the training was for an illegal militia.
Subsequently, the training camp was shut down while the recruits were dispersed by troops.
Wike had during a television programme on Sunday took a swipe at General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, the former Chief of Army Staff over the disruption of the formation of the security outfit.
He accused the former Army Chief of bias, noting that while he stopped the formation of Rivers Neighbourhood Watch, he allowed states in the South-West to form their own outfit named Amotekun.