The crisis rocking the southern zone of Taraba State involving people of Jukun and Tiv, as well as other ethnic groups may soon be a thing of the past.
This is because the state government has adopted a community policing strategy to facilitate involvement and partnership with the police and other security agencies in crime prevention.
To set the ball rolling, the government inaugurated a 16-Member Community Policing Advisory Committee to ensure the full implementation of the programme.
The series of clashes in Taraba – such as Tivs and Jukuns, Yangdans and Fulanis, as well as Konas and Fulanis – have been characterised by deaths, destruction of properties, and displacement of residents who now take refuge in makeshift shelters across the state.
Despite efforts by the government to end the feud, the unending crisis between the Tiv and Jukun that has lasted over a year in the southern zone, and is now spilling to Bali Local Government Area in the central zone of the state.
The latest was a meeting of the heads of security agencies, traditional rulers, religious leaders, and civil society organisations, to embrace community policing as the best approach to end the age-long crisis among various tribes in the state.
At the meeting which held recently at the Government House in Jalingo, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, stated that the concept of community policing stood on a tripod.
According to Adamu who was represented by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Logistics and Supply), Aminchi Baraya, the tripod analogy involves inter-agency cooperation, problems solving, and intelligence-led policing.
On his part, the Commissioner of Police in Taraba, Ahmed Azare, believes the concept of community policing has become a global model in policing and commended the success of the programme after years of foot-dragging.
He explained that community policing strategy in Nigeria has five components for effectiveness and ease of operation.
They include State Community Advisory Committee, State Community Policing Committee, Area Command Community Policing Advisory Committee, Local Government Community Policing Advisory Committee, and Divisional Community Policing Committee.
”The above sub-committees will be subsequently inaugurated by the State Community Policing Advisory Committee and will exercise the supervisory role to ensure the implementation of the community policing in Taraba State,” Azare stated.
He added, “The sub-committee will manage and coordinate community policing programmes, provide information and other resources to contribute to societal peace, and ensure that community policing takes its root and succeed in all communities in the state.”
The police commissioner insisted that community policing was a crime-fighting strategy whereupon the members of the community work in partnership with the police for effective policing of their areas or communities.
The philosophy of community policing, according to him, is geared towards encouraging and enabling communities to take greater responsibilities for their own safety and security, improve the cordial relationship with the police, and promote community involvement in the management of crime.
Eliminate Social Decay
For the state governor, Darius Ishaku, community policing is a milestone in the search for a workable home-grown solution to the agitation for regional or state policing or a call for another security outfit.
Represented by his deputy, Haruna Manu, he insisted that the step taken in adopting community policing in Taraba should be seen as one in the right direction.
The governor said, “This occasion is not only fundamental but timely as we seek robust ways of addressing the numerous security challenges facing our dear state.
”This advisory committee will no doubt help in reducing the tension associated with calls for different forms of security outfits by states.”
“As you are very much aware, Taraba State has of recent been faced with numerous security challenges ranging from armed banditry, kidnapping, herders and farmers conflict, as well as petty crimes to full-blown communal clashes that call for a new and radical approach towards finding a durable and acceptable peaceful resolution,” he added.
Governor Ishaku stressed that the adoption of community policing should be viewed as a fruitful partnership between communities and police to ensure early detection of the potential security threat from escalating out of proportion.
He added that it sought to engender trust and confidence in the police as truly the friend of the people, help keep the peace, promote safety and security awareness, gather intelligence, fight social vices, as well as settle civil disputes.
“The onerous task of ensuring peace, the security of lives and property of the citizenry can no longer be left with the police alone, as it requires the collective will of all communities to arrest and eliminate social decay in crime and other social vices that threaten the fabrics of the society,” the governor stated.
He, therefore, urged the police to be open and ready to work with the committee at all levels and view the committee as partners who would complement their crime-fighting and prevention capabilities.
The Community Policing Strategy Committee will be co-chaired by the police commissioner and Chairman of the Taraba State Traditional Council.
Residents are hopeful that the strategy will broaden the operational network of policing and make the society free of crime and criminality.