Insecurity: FG boosts community policing initiative with N13bn takeoff grant

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*Osinbajo

The federal government yesterday approved N13.3 billion for the take-off of community policing initiative across the country aspart of measures aimed at containing the security situation in the country.

The governor of Nasarawa State, Mr.  Abdullahi Sule disclosed this at the end of the virtual meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa and chaired by the vice president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.

Sule who was one of those who attended the meeting in person said the decision was taken after a report by the ad hoc committee on security and policing, headed by the governor of Ekiti State and chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) Dr Kayode Fayemi, was submitted to the council.

He said the committee met August 4 to review the growing security challenges in the country.

The governors also requested for more funding for states and the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to enable them to meet security obligations.

Sule said the meeting received briefings from the NSA, inspector general of police, Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) and the Department of State Services (DSS).

“Council resolved that the chair of the NGF with two other governors would meet with the secretary to the government of the federation, the finance minister and the inspector general of Police to co-ordinate the proper utilisation of the N13 billion funding of community policing in the states.

“State governments have been overwhelmed by insecurity expenditures and there is the need by the federal government to inject more funds to augment expenses by the states, among others.”

“The meeting made several observations and came up with recommendation, that would help government tackle insecurity in the country,” he said.

Other reports received by the NEC included reports on the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country; flood disaster risk management in Nigeria for 2020, and the issue of compensation payments regarding federal highway projects across the country.

Responding to two presentations on the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria – one by NEC’s ad hoc committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the other by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC – the state governors commended the efforts and commitment of the federal government in containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting States’ response capacity through various interventions.

The NCDC report indicates that the positivity rate has fallen from 19.7 per cent in June to 13.7 per cent in August 2020, while number of states with testing laboratories increased from 2 to 32, including the FCT.

According to the status report presented to the council, “the average tests per day has risen from 500 at the onset of the outbreak to 3,500 today, while the daily laboratory testing capacity increased to 10,000.”

Council also received recommendations from the ad hoc committee some of which included

• The states and FCT to look for ways of upscaling the communication at the grass-root level/ non-compliance to non-pharmaceutical interventions.

• The need for states and FCT to explore the suggested use of local networks and traditional institutions such as Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) to re-orient the people at the grassroots who had continuously lived in denial of the pandemic but rather chose to display nonchalant attitude towards all the laid down protocols.

• States and FCT should engage the services of the respected community influencers such as the heads of “Area Boys”, market women, and villagers, in disseminating the same message to the grass root using different modes/media that are common to such people and could easily attract their attention.

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