In Nigeria today, the issue of community policing appears to be in the forefront of social and political discourse, as it has overshadowed other pressing national issues. This is the latest in the series championed by the political elites, and the masses have latched unto it like lice to a dog. Here in Akwa Ibom, I have even heard a suggestion from an academic that we should return to the pre-colonial era practice or system of community security! This is a sad commentary.
While I am not against the idea of community policing, it must be noted that the concept, in whatever form, will not solve the plethora of problems confronting Nigeria. Yesterday, I read a post on this platform by Nkereuwem Akpan. In the post, he chronicled some critical issues bedevilling Nigeria. Will community policing engender an efficient justice delivery in Nigeria? Will community policing eliminate corruption in Nigeria? Will community policing fix the bad roads littered across the country? Will community policing make political leaders to remain in their states to identify and develop critical sectors of the local economy, in a view to improving the fortunes of their people, instead of frivolously travelling to Abuja, Lagos or outside the country every other day? Will community policing make state governors to efficiently apply the questionable monies, ranging from 1 to 2 billion naira, they take from their state coffers each month in the name of security votes?
Instead of talking about community policing, we should hold political leaders to be more transparent and accountable to the citizens. We should demand a society where all forms of corruption are checked and reduced to the barest minimum. We should demand good governance, and a just society for all. By so doing, insecurity will be brought under control. According to Samuel Johnson, “[c]auseless discontent, and seditious violence, will grow less frequent and less formidable, as the science of government is better ascertained, by a diligent study of the theory of men”, which should embolden the people to make constant demands of their government.
We should not allow the Nigerian political elites to use their own agenda to distract us whenever they feel like it. Nigerians, irrespective of class and greed, must be united towards ensuring that their the well being is placed above every other thing. We must not be distracted by allowing the political elites to give us something to ruminate on while they continue to pillage the resources of this country.