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APC Governors back community policing

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Say Controversy Over Amotekun Will Be Resolved

The Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) comprising governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday threw its weight behind the call for community policing in the country.

Briefing journalists in Abuja after a meeting, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, who co-chairs the PGF governance programmes steering committee, maintained that the concept of community policing was within the ambit of the law.

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Lalong, who recalled how he was able to restore peace in his state through community policing, said the PGF was in support of any collaborative effort with security agencies to protect the lives and property of Nigerians.

He assured that the controversy surrounding Operation Amotekun, the recently launched South West regional security outfit, would be resolved amicably.

He said: “On the general term, after a presentation from the security agencies, all of us appear to be talking about community policing. We all agree on that one so we don’t want a situation where you start doing something and the Federal Government will say you are doing it outside the law just like what they said about Amotekun.

“It is now that they are going to dialogue. Even if they are doing that it has to be within the law. So, what is within the law as far as governors are concerned is the issue of community policing. We are all agreed on that. Like my co-chairman said, when you go into implementation, you use different kinds of methods.”

Sharing his experience in Plateau, Lalong explained: “I made a briefing in Lafia and I told them I have been using community policing for a very long time. In Jos, I have about three organisations, three security outfits. I have the headquarters of ‘A’ Division to have Operation Safe Haven established by the Federal government for only a few states at that time, and I have what is called Operation Rainbow.

“For us, Operation Rainbow is like community policing because while Operation Safe Haven and Police are answerable to the Federal Government, Operation Rainbow is answerable to the governor and it is a combination of different security organisations. 

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“What they do is intelligence gathering and we find that very effective because if you do not understand the intelligence, you will not understand how to even nip the security situation in the bud. So, because of this intelligence, before anything happens, we know because we have an early warning system.”

Jigawa State Governor Abubakar Badaru, who co-chairs the steering committee on governance, spoke in the same vein. He said: “On Amotekun, I believe the Federal Government and the regions are finding some solutions. They will resolve the issues on how they will do it and also I think security is peculiar to each state.

“It depends on what states believe will work for them. Some will want Amotekun; some will want dialogue. In Jigawa, we don’t need any. We cannot say it is a policy that all APC states will take. It depends on your peculiarities, what will work for you to protect lives and properties.

“There is a standing Committee that is looking at security that involves not only APC governors but also all governors in the federation. The President is so worried about security and he is working tirelessly to see how this menace will really come down. ”

“But I am sure you will agree with me that around Zamfara, Katsina, and Sokoto, it has dropped. In Kaduna, it’s not so much as it used to be. And when you go to the Northeast, we have been able to reduce it significantly.”  

Speaking on the penchant by members of the Boko Haram terrorists to kill students and Christian clerics, Lalong described the development as unfortunate, adding that it was a ploy by the group to trigger a religious war in the country. 

He reiterated that President Muhammadu Buhari was working assiduously to secure the country.

“I take it as part of propaganda because when they are getting to that level, they can use any means to propagate and incite people to go into killings. We heard what happened in Adamawa where they killed a pastor and then they went to Plateau State and killed a student. 

“I have been telling the people, trying to caution them because the intention is for people to start fighting on religious grounds. By the time you fall into it, they will come back again. When you are fighting, they will come back and start mingling with the people. So, it is very unfortunate when they start killing students and religious leaders.

“We have to keep appealing to the people. We have made a strong appeal to the security agencies to go back to those places because we do not expect Boko Haram to be more superior than our security agencies,” he noted.

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