OPCI Security Summit endorses community policing as panacea to security challenges



By Kehinde Akinpelu, , Ilorin

No fewer than three speakers who spoke at the Oodua Progresive Care Initiative (OPCI) summit at the Arts and Culture Centre, Ilorin on Tuesday endorsed community policing as a panacea in containing security challenges facing the nation.

In his lecture tagged; “National security-the role of media, NGO and community in the midst of challenges”, a renown human rights activist, Comrade Taiwo Otitolaye, said security was situated within national security environment.

He, therefore, identified five security consciousness of the citizenry, which includes, security policies, security institutions, security personnel and the community.

He decried the country’s colonial security heritage built on a system not meant to protect the citizenry but oppressive in order to collect taxes for the colonialists without any major reforms since independence.

This he said affected our security consciousness.  He advocated  the need for all the citizens to be security conscious as a way out of the challenges.

Otitolaye also called for reforms of our security laws and policies to be in line with security of lives and properties giving the example of America as a country that cares about the lives of their citizens.

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Calling on security institutions to cater for the security personnel and other stakeholders, he also called for the training, equipment and proper welfare of the security agencies so that they can be motivated to perform well.

He also called on the security agencies to stop extortion and oppression of the citizenry.

Otitolaye disclosed that it was the politicians that arm thugs during elections and when election finished, the cannot collect ammunition given to them with which they resort to kidnappings, banditry and robbery

Taking a cursory look at the emergence of various militia group, he said it was state infiltration into militant groups that explodes security situation in Nigeria.

Earlier in his welcome address, the National President of OPCI, Dr. Maruf Olanrewaju, bemoaned the security situation in the country, saying  Boko Haram, Niger Delta militants, MASSOB, IPOB, OPC, or whatever, they are all known as illegal organizations without charter, Articles of Association or Board of Trustees, yet their promoters are known and move freely, interacting and intermingling with law abiding people across the federation without hindrance or questioning by law to the extent that most of these merchants of violence are now regarded as celebrities in their own right.

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“An outlaw is an outlaw but here in Nigeria, they are found to be mingling with the law? This is where we found ourselves.”, OPCI Chief said.

He added that Oodua Progresive Care Initiative which was founded on September 24, 2017 and legally registered with the CAC in Abuja, “is not and will never be an ethnic militant group. We believe in ones and unity of our dear country and we promote peace, unity and progress of our country”.

Just like the guest lecturer, he posited out that herdsmen and other  ethnic groups have been living harmoniously together before  independence, saying the Fulani herdsmen causing security problems are foreigners sent packing from Central and neighbouring West African countries. They are the ones doing cattle rustling to fellow Fulanis.

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The influx of the security posing migrants he attributed to our porous border which he said that a friend told him that Nigeria-Cameroon border have over 200 pathways.

In his goodwill message, Kwara State Council Chairman of NUJ, Comrade Umar Abdullahi, urged media practitioners to do more on profiling of criminals in the society.

He  noted that there was no day that something is not written or broadcast in the media on the security challenges confronting the country;

He, however, called for more information to the media by the community just as he charged the media to continue to do more in security agenda setting for the government.

The Chairman of Kwara State Community Policing, otherwise known as Metro Peace and Security Initiative based in Ilorin, disclosed their preparedness to work with OPCI, saying a community involves everyone as each and everybody belongs to a community which they would not want destroy but developed.

He, therefore, charged different communities to rise to the challenges of security situation and safe themselves.

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