-Bill to clearly define legal framework on community policing underway – Hon. Benson
In other to make community policing more effective in provision of adequate security of lives and properties in the grassroots, security experts have engaged members of the Onyabo Vigilance Group in Ikorodu on how to be professional in their conducts.
This was the focus of the security seminar organized by the Onyabo Command in conjunction with Abolarinwa Crystal Concept (ACC), a private security outfit in the country, held at the Ikorodu Local Government Secretariat hall on Saturday, October 5, 2019.
About 100 chieftains and members of the Onyabo Vigilance Group participated.
Hon. Babajimi Benson, the Chairman, House Committee on Defense, Federal House of Representatives, Abuja, also revealed that plans are in the pipeline to give community policing legal framework to guide its operations.
The two term lawmaker, who was special guest of honour at the seminar, was represented by Dr. Abiodun Fatai-Abatan, a senior lecturer in the department of Political Science, Lagos State University, Ojo (LASU).
Hon. Benson, in his address, said, “ The House is currently working on a bill that seeks to clearly define a legal framework on community policing and Onyabo will be the beneficiary of this bill” , the lawmaker revealed.
“When passed to law, Onyabo will not only operate within the ambit of a robust security architecture which addresses many of their concerns, but also bring it to the fore, as a professional and efficient security outfit that complement the existing policing structure in the country” , he assured.
Speaking on the need for adequate security structure in the community, Hon. Benson stated:
“In every stable and orderly society, you must have a very staring security architecture and when we talk about this, we are actually talking about the general component of an effective security structure.
“Effective security structure, not only in terms of the people involved, but also in terms of training in skill acquisition and operational efficiency for the managers and the field workers on security”.
While commending Onyabo Vigilance group for its roles in intervening and bringing sanity to Ikorodu, he also added that the purpose of the symposium is to train and educate community security operatives and build their capacity to allow them discharge their duties effectively.
“On the basis of that, I think that we all understand the challenges that we have in Ikorodu in terms of security deficit and the emergence of Onyabo within the context of that security deficit is applauded and seen as closing the gap between the police and insecurity in the community.
“More importantly, the essence of our presence here today is to ensure that we train and educate Onyabo personnel in term of what they need to do on the field which requires skills and capacity and how we can fashion out a legal framework that can allow them to be able to work effectively”.
Hon. Benson also called for the creation of State Police within which, he further added that, community policing must exist as way of effectively tackling insecurity in the country.
“I think that, essentially, if we have to be sincere with ourselves, there is need for state policing which must be within the context of creating a community policing that would help in the challenges of insecurity”, he advocated.
“It is within this context that we are going to locate Onyabo which has been playing vital roles in securing our community.
“We also have to restructure the existing federal system that we have in Nigeria in such a way that it will create state structure in policing such that we can take a peculiarity within a particular jurisdiction.
“It is on the premises of this argument that it is important for us to have a community that understands the peculiarity of the terrain of a particular area.
“Today is essentially to re-indoctrinate and re-equip them on necessary skills and capacity such that they can be able to deliver as expected”.
The lead speaker, Alhaji Abolarinwa, former Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) and O/C Federal SARS, who led the onslaught against cultism and other criminalities in Ikorodu with Onyabo when criminal activities were at the peak in the division, stated that the symposium was aimed at building the capacity of the community policing personnel.
“Through this symposium, we are demonstrating our concern for security at the community level by helping in building capacity for Onyabo personnel.
“We know the important roles that are expected of the group and there is need to assist as a security organization in helping to deliver.
“Their roles are very strategic and capacity building remains a critical area of manpower development to enhance their skills on the field of security” , he stated.
“This seminar is primarily to equip them and enable them have adequate knowledge of securing their communities.”
Hon. Matthew Adesanya, Onyabo Provost Marshal, in his own contribution, condemned the arrest of members of vigilance groups by police and enjoined the leadership of the Police force to redress the situation since community policing is strategic.
Mr Lanre Olabinjo, Deputy Commander of the Ikorodu Divisional Command of Onyabo Vigilance Group, in his own address, recalled that:
“Onyabo group became a formal organization in 2000 in response to the threat to security of lives and properties, disruption of trade and business environment, and general apprehension and fear of violence caused by armed robbers, cultist groups and miscreants in the community.
“The late Ayangbure, HRM Oba Salaudeen Afolabi Oyefusi, CON, inaugurated the group and gave his royal blessings to support its operations, a move that facilitated the official recognition of the group by the local government and other security agencies in the town”.
He stated that the group has been existing close to 20 years and has been providing intelligence to police and other security agencies since then.
“In our over 19 years of existence, we have provided grassroots security intelligence for the Nigeran Police Force, Nigerian Army and Navy, DSS and other security apparatus of government.
“The group has made great progress in curbing the rather disturbing spate of violence and destruction of lives and properties within the division”.
Olabinjo stated that the importance of Onyabo to the security of the division cannot be over emphasized.
“The role and significance of ‘Onyabo’ cannot be over emphasized as average resident in Ikorodu Division would rather seek the presence of our men at their events than other security agencies.
“We have also proved ourselves to being a major reason why traditional festivals and other public events like One Lagos Fiesta, Magbo, Liwe and the annual Eyibi festivals have been peaceful”.
He also used the occasion to list the challenges facing the group and their needs for effective operations. Among these are Utility vehicle/patrol van and motor bike, uniform, jackets and other security geras for members, Stationaries, Training and seminars for members, welfare package for families of deceased members, insurance for members and continuous funding by the Ayangbure palace and local council authority among others.
His Royal Majesty, Oba Kabir Shotobi, the Ayangbure of Ikorodu , in his own remarks, commended Onyabo Vigilance Group for its roles in securing lives and properties in Ikorodu.
The royal father was represented by Otunba Ayodele Elesho, the Agbaakin of Ikorodu Kingdom.
He added that the palace is working with critical stakeholders to establish trust fund for the community policing outfit in Ikorodu.
Oba Shotobi also stated that the palace is also working with others in providing remuneration for members of the group so as to encourage and motivate them.
Other resource persons, security experts and other eminent indivduals at the programme were Alhaji Ogidi Sulaimon, the Ajiroba of Ikorodu, CSP Fatai Shoetan, acting Area Commander, Chief Rafiu Onilegboro, Commander, Onyabo, DSP Rotimi Ogunmiyiwa, OC SARS Ipakodo zone, SP Kamaldeen Azeez, (rtd.), Managing Director, Axis Lamp Security Limited, Hn. Wasiu Adeshina, Chairman, Ikorodu Local Government and Chief Yahya Shodipo, the llumale Eluku.
The symposium continues on Saturday, October 12, 2019, at same venue.