Christopher Oji, Lagos
The Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Nigeria, Mr Jan Van Weijen, has said that Nigeria has become a safe place to do business, saying the crime rate has reduced, especially in the South West.
Weijen said Nigeria is better than it was 26 years ago in terms of security and safety.
The Consul General made the remarks Monday while speaking at the first quarterly symposium organised by the Police Community Relation Commitee (PCRC), Victoria Island Division, with the theme ‘Practical Implementation Of Community Policing In Nigeria’.
At the event, which also marks the launch of the PCRC, Victoria Island Traffic Corps, Weijen said: “I know how much security means and I can also tell you that it has increased tremendously in Nigeria since I last visited in 1993.
“Nigeria, especially Lagos State, is now conducive for business and you can drive anywhere in the country without any fear. I can tell you authoritatively that crime rate has reduced drastically. I was in Nigeria in 1992 to 1994 and the security challenges were terrible. I remember that there were road blocks everywhere. But in my second coming erlier this year, I discovered that there is no longer road blocks. I commend the Nigerian security agencies. I can drive everywhere on my own without fear,” he said.
Earlier, the Chairman of the PCRC, Victoria Island, Mr Mathew Ibadin, said the vision of the group was to serve as a platform to synergise the security activities of various corporate bodies, organisations and individuals towards the creation of security architecture for Victoria Island.
He added that the initiative is a holistic approach which involves security, safety and traffic management.
“Consequently, this will assist the police, Road Safety and LASTMA to ease traffic and decrease the occasions for criminal intent and action.
“Today, we have launched the Traffic Corps who are going to be on our payroll because we want to make sure our environment is safe and crime free,“ he said.
A university Don, Dr Ona Ekhoma, while delivering a paper, said community members must trust the police with information about crime and criminals to achieve a crime free state through community policing.
He said community policing is anchored on a productive relationship between the patrol officers and the community members, as well as interacting with community members to finding problems and solving problems.”
Dr Ekhomu said Nigerians must embrace community policing and implement it correctly.
“Having a Police-Community Relationship commitee is not community policing, and in order to establish trust and obtain citizen cooperation, the police must eschew all trust busters and become a trustworthy agency,” he said.
The President of Africa Bar Association, Hannibal Uwaifo, in his address also said one of the challenges of Community Policing is trust between the citizen and the police.
The President of the bar who was represented by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Osa Director, noted that there should be total support from the citizens as well as training them on the advantages of community policing in order to get the best results.
He said leading by example by the police and those in power will enhance good relationships between them and the citizens.
While representing the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 2, AIG Ahmed Illiyasu, ACP Bose Akinyemi, said the citizens should support the Nigerian Police on community policing, while calling on the officers to befriend the people in the community so as to get useful information to tackle crime.
“The Commissioner of Police is assuring the PCRC of the command’s support anytime we are needed,” he concluded.