By Jerry Needam, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Chief Felix Obuah, Chairman of PDP, Rivers State.
One of the greatest concerns of governance through the ages is security, that’s protection of lives and property. Why? You may ask. Each one of us, as rightly pointed out by Harold W. Dodds, requires the spur of insecurity to force us to do our best.
This fact is also not lost on Rivers State House of Assembly which, moved by popular demand and the urgent need to stem the activities of criminals in the State recently passed into law the Neighbourhood Watch Bill.
The Neighbourhood Watch is strictly a security organization that will support security agencies with intelligence to promote the security of the State.
Already, there exists a similar security outfit in Lagos. The idea is informed by the fact that policemen and other security agencies cannot be everywhere considering the size of the country.
Also true to this fact, Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo recently at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Jos, Plateau State charged the participants of the Senior Executive Course (SEC) to identify how other countries the world over are using community policing to strengthen their national security frameworks.
Community policing as an emerging phenomenon has attracted wide ranging discussions, debates and applications in countries across the world because of rising wave of crimes, violence, killings and all manner of atrocities against humanity, which are so challenging and overwhelming that the conventional security agencies can no longer cope in containing them.
To also emphasize the need for finding a new way of helping the regular security agencies in this wholesome task of protection of lives and properties of citizens, Professor Osinbanjo at a recent book launch on ‘Law on Prevention and Detection of Crimes’ by the police in Abuja stated in no mistaken terms that sitting in Abuja to police other remote parts of the country was not practicable any longer.
The old way of policing the country, he said, is no longer tenable and called for a more critical look at the way other parts of the world are doing it even as he promised that the federal government would soon announce a new policy for the country on community policing for better service delivery.
The Vice President emphatically stated that rather than take away the powers of the national police, community policing will pave the way for modern policing in the country.
It’s against this backdrop that the Nyesom Wike administration needs to be applauded for its pro-activeness just like his Lagos State counterpart with same alarming problem of immigrants flooding into their States for greener pastures, and coming up with a security outfit named Neighbourhood Watch.
Most disappointedly, the security organization is lauded by all but the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State.
This is the same APC that had alleged insecurity everywhere in the State and accused Governor Wike of doing nothing about it.
To the APC in Rivers State, the setting up of the Neighbourhood Watch in the State portends danger.
Could it be that their reason for opposing the new law establishing such security organization is informed by their decrepit attitude of not seeing anything good in what is done by another other than themselves or the seeming puncturing of their sinister plot of instigating crisis and secretly abetting crimes in the State and as usual, coming round to accuse Gov Wike of being inefficient and inactive in containing the same problems they are creating.
It’s therefore pertinent to ask why the Rivers APC is so angry at an effort for which the State government has received accolades from well-meaning Nigerians and for blazing the trail in the area of community policing that has equally started yielding positive results even when His Excellency is yet to accent to the law.
Perhaps, it’s high time the rest members of the APC were told the truth about the lamentation of their paymaster and why he wants the new law abrogated before it becomes operational.
With the Neigbourhood Watch in place, the blood of Rivers people will no longer count during the 2019 elections but their votes.
Imported security agents will no longer open fire on innocent Rivers people but will rather be assisted by the concerned Rivers people in fishing out the real criminals, get them arrested and prosecuted.
It’s no longer going to be business as usual for self-seeking politicians who leverage on deceit and propaganda to exploit the poor masses.
With the coming into being, the Neigbourhood Watch has consigned that primordial act and senseless killings into the waste basket of history for the State to move on with other civilized societies and no amount of crying wolf will stop this wonderful initiative.
It’s indeed, ridiculous that the APC in Rivers State is singing discordant tunes with its parent body (the APC at the federal), ignorantly contrasting the Vice President who has eminently pronounced a favourable disposition of the federal government on community policing.
Whose interest is then the Rivers APC representing? Is Rivers APC for or against the people? Why is APC alleging insecurity in the State and at the same time fighting against every measure to fight crime in the State?
Which way Rivers APC?