Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has inaugurated a committee on community policing, the Community Volunteer Guards (Vigilante) Committee, as well as the Penal Code Reform Committee.
Inaugurating the two committees at a combined ceremony which held at the Taal Conference Hotel, Lafia, on Wednesday, Engineer Sule said it was in furtherance of the commitment of his administration to complement the efforts of security agencies in securing lives and property of the people of the state.
He noted further that it was also intended to ensure emerging crimes and criminality are curtailed and contained.
Engineer Sule disclosed that he earlier directed the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice to put in place necessary machinery for the constitution of the Volunteer Guard (Vigilante) for the state and local government areas, in line with the domestication of the amended Model Penal Code of Northern Nigeria 2015.
The Governor recalled the recently held North-Central security summit, where the security situation of the zone and country at large, were reviewed, with solutions proffered towards addressing the security challenges confronting the zone.
He explained that, it was against that background that his administration decided to take deliberate steps in order to secure the state and to ensure that law and order are maintained at all times for socio-economic development of the state.
While noting that it has become necessary to develop a policy framework for security sector reform, with a view to incorporating security actors in the formal and informal sectors, including the community policing policy into national security architecture, Engineer Sule stressed that the Volunteer Guard is expected to complement the effort of state security agencies, especially in rural areas.
Earlier, state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Associate Professor Abdulkarim Abubakar Kana, pointed out that the Penal Code Law of Nasarawa State was inherited from Northern Nigeria enacted in 1959.
He described the law as impracticable, particularly in the face of contemporary realities and modern crimes, explaining the constitution of relevant stakeholders and renowned scholars in law to draw up a Penal Code Law that meets the need of the present times.
Associate Prof Kana disclosed that the Nasarawa State Community Volunteer Guards (Vigilante) Law was signed into law in 2004 but was never implemented fully, leading to proliferation of vigilante groups without guidance and code of operations.
He pointed out that while records indicated that community vigilante groups in the state have become major partners in crime prevention and peace building, there is however need for proper coordination, explaining why Engineer Sule approved the composition of the members of the State Coordinating Committee, in line with the provision of the law.
Chairman of the CVGC and state Commissioner of Police, Bola Longe, in a vote of thanks, commended the Governor for being the only one in the country to set up a committee on community policing, promising, alongside other members of the committee, to effectively carry out their mandate and to ensure that the state remains secure and safe for socio-economic developments.