By Peter Okutu
South-East governors, yesterday, settled their misunderstanding with the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, over the modalities for the constitution of community police planned for the South-East geo-political zone of the country.
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State and Chairman of South-East Governors Forum stated this after a virtual meeting of the governors with the Inspector General of Police.
The governors had on Sunday rejected a proposed template for setting up community policing in the region.
The governors during its last meeting on Sunday in Énugu, expressed disappointment with the IGP for reneging on an earlier agreement they had with the police on the practice and composition of community policing for the zone
They also asked the five state Houses of Assembly in the region to commence enactment of state security laws that will give legal backing to the establishment of a regional security outfit in line with its joint security programme for the zone.
But after the virtual meeting, yesterday, which also had other leaders and stakeholders from the zone in attendance, the governors and the Police IGP resolved their differences.
Speaking in Abakaliki after the meeting, Governor Umahi blamed the Commissioners of Police in the zone for the disagreement.
He said: “The meeting centred on the communiqué we issued after our Sunday meeting of governors of South-East at Enugu.
“We, the governors of South-East and our leaders, were the first to accept community policing because of the beautiful ingredients of community policing the IG explained to us when we had the meeting at Enugu.
“We saw that the idea in the policy would assist us, so when the CPs made a mistake by going to do the composition by themselves and asked the governors to inaugurate, we felt that something was wrong somewhere and we had to contact the IGP.
“The IGP agreed today that the CPs made a mistake. Anyone that has gone ahead to do the selection process made a mistake. That it was entirely for the governors and stakeholders to sit down and do the selection. Today, we met again, discussed and reached an agreement.”
Umahi said the IGP agreed with the position of the governors that the various community security apparati already in existence at the local government and community levels be included in the new scheme.
He said: “The IGP said we should give him those selected and the Police will train them. They will then do the community policing and of course, the advisory committee is to be headed by the traditional rulers of the various communities with some select stakeholders as members.
LG advisory c’ttee
“This is at the community level and this is acceptable to the governors of South-East and leaders.”
The governor said the meeting unanimously agreed that there will be a local government advisory committee to be headed by the local government chairman at each local government area.
“The membership includes all the DPOs and heads of other security agencies, traditional rulers in each local government and other stakeholders”
Umahi said that at the state level, the governor, the security chiefs, traditional rulers, council chairmen and members of some select stakeholders and interest groups will be members of the advisory committee.
“This is what we have agreed and we also agreed that the states will implement theirs and inaugurate in their various states. When next we meet at Enugu, we will harmonise our views in line with these agreements we reached.” he said.
Others who attended the virtual meeting were Ohaneze Ndigbo Chairman, Chief NniaNwodo; Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Jim Nwobodo, traditional rulers and General Obi Umahi (retd) among others.
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