Ebonyi State governor and Chairman, South-East Governor’s forum, Dave Umahi, has disclosed that the South-East governors have reached a compromise with the Inspector-General of Police on the issue of running a Community Police similar to Amotekun.
Umahi, while speaking on Channels TV Sunrise Daily, stated that what the IGP introduced to them fitted to what they had in mind
“Because of the heightened insecurity in every part of the country, people are agitating for different forms of security protection. The submission of all this agitations is that people want state police and the governors took oath of office to uphold the tenets of the constitution. But we had discussion with the IGP. He is a very professional officer and is very committed to this job. We took him through all the agitations, and we were able to reach a number of compromises. The IGP introduced what community policing is all about and it fitted into what we are doing in our various states in the south east. People tend to lose confidence in security agents but it is not their fault because there is heightened insecurity and the personnel are not enough”, he stated.
He revealed that already, a security framework was already in place in the South-East states for the successful implementation of the plan.
“In our different states, from 2015, we have Ministries of security and we have laws that back up our community security outfits, like Operation Pochapo in Anambra, Neighborhood Watch in Ebonyi and Enugu. We have gatekeepers in Abia and Imo, we have forest guards and they are all backed up by law”, he added.
The governor also revealed the modalities for running community police in the region. “The IGP told us that community police is community based. The police are not going to select the personnel and they are not going to depend on the DPO or the CP. One striking and important aspects of community policing is that they will have the ability to arrest and not detain but they can arraign in court”, he stated.
According to him, “community policing is an enhancement of what we are already doing because what we are doing is backed by law and community policing is going to be domesticated in each of the states and is also going to be backed by law. Where there are no alternatives, you have to find a way to protect the lives and property of your people”.
He allayed the fears that the proposed plan was a regional security outfit, just like it was perceived for Amotekun.
“There is nothing like regional security because regional security is above state police, even Amotekun is state based, it is not a regional police. But some of people believe that we should have one central security outfit with a central command. The constitution does not allow that. We started in July 2018 and we formed a south east security committee. What we agreed is to have in Enugu, the committee that will be saddled with intelligence gathering. We have communication gadgets; we have our ex-service men there. This people get information, they coordinate the activities of the local vigilante and all the various security outfits. When Ohaneze kicked, we had another meeting about a week ago with stakeholders of South-East and said we can improve on that security committee”, Umahi stated.
He also added that the security outfit would not bear arms and they will not work with any plan outside the agreement they have reached with the IGP.
“There are two types of firearms license, one is by Mr. President, and the other is by the IGP… We know what the IGP told us about community policing and if the template comes out and it departs from that agreement we reached, both the governors of the South-East and the South-East people will not embrace community policing”, he added.