The Governor of Rivers State Nyeson Ezenwo Wike couple of days ago signed into law the Neighborhood Safety Corp bill passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly. Since the presentation of this bill at the floor of the Rivers State House of Assembly, there have been reactions in various quarters, hence the need for this to clear some issues and throw more light to the Neighborhood Safety Corp of Rivers State.
The Neighborhood Safety Corp if operational has its responsibilities and merits. But before going to x-ray the responsibilities and merits, let us look critically at what neighborhood watch is all about and areas it has successfully been applied with results achieved.
Neighbourhood Watch is a community based crime prevention program which aims to improve the quality of life within a neighbourhood by minimising preventable crime and promoting closer community ties. The program relies on the community and the Police working together in a partnership to achieve these aims.
A neighborhood watch also called a crime watch or neighbourhood crime watch, is an organized group of civilians devoted to crime and vandalism prevention within a neighborhood.
They are extra eyes and ears for reporting crime and helping neighbors. Members meet their neighbors, learn how to make their homes more secure, watch out for each other and the neighborhood, and report activity that raises their suspicions to the police.
The neighborhood watch is established world over to improve police/community liaison by providing effective communications through Neighbourhood Watch messaging systems which warn Coordinators of local crime trends which they can disseminate to their scheme members, and by members informing the police of incidents when they occur.
The neighborhood watch is not a new phenomenon in this part of the world, it is and has always been in existence. It exists in our various localities and has been very successful in fighting crimes and keeping the neighborhood safe.
Example of neighborhood watch in Rivers State is the OSPAC in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA, the Diobu Vigilante, and others. You can agree that the OSPAC contributed immensely in the curbing crimes in the ONELGA area of Rivers State and environs. The Diobu Vigilante group has been handy in the fight against crimes and criminalities in that area of the state. In our streets and villages there are one vigilante group or the other helping to keep our neighborhood safe and secured for living.
If these vigilante groups and many others within our streets and villages which may or may not have the backings of the law and not ewuiped and adequately equipped can make such tremendous success as we witness in our neighborhoods, then it obvious that the Rivers State Neighborhood Safety Corp which is an establishment of law will do much better.
Having established the above we can now talk about the responsibilities and merits of the neighborhood safety corp.
The Rivers Neighborhood Safety Corp is an outfit owned by the Rivers State Government aimed at ensuring adequate and proper crime prevention and fighting. It is aimed at making the people own their own security by providing useful information to the corp about crime activities and perpetrators.
What is responsibility of the Rivers State Neighborhood Safety Corp.
The Safety Corp is responsible for gathering of information about crimes and perpetrators within the locality and disseminating same to the relevant authorities such as the police, community heads, govt. etc.
They collaborate with the police to ensure that perpetrators of crimes are apprehended and prosecuted according to the laws of the land.
The Corp is to complement the police in ensuring the security of lives and properties.
How is the establishment of the Neighborhood watch beneficial to the populace.
Last time the IGP stated that there are about 354,000 police personnel for a country with over 170 million citizens. About 80% of these personnel guides the VIPs which is less than 5% of the entire population there by leaving the remaining 95% in the hands of the 20% of about 354,000 police personnel. According UN standard Nigeria needs about 1.2 million well equipped police personnel for proper policing.
From the above you will agreed that Nigeria is seriously under policed, hence the Rivers State Neighborhood Safety Corp will cover up for the under policing in Rivers State.
The Neighborhood Safety Corp hands over security to people by collaborating with the people to gather information about crime prone areas and perpetrators. In other words it ensures the people take responsibility of their security.
It is a fact that majority of police personnel are strangers in the areas they serve and as such doesn’t know the terrain of the areas they are sent to police, hence they are handicapped in carrying out their duties effectively. But the Neighborhood Safety Corp which will comprise our brothers and sisters who are conversant with the terrain of our localities will be handy to cover these shortfalls.
Employment opportunity. The Rivers State Neighborhood Safety Corp will provide employment opportunity for over 2,000 youths of Rivers State by engaging youths from our various communities and localities in the neighborhood watch.
Improved Economic and commercial activities. Business can only thrive in a secured and safe environment. With the Rivers State Neighborhood Safety Corp, the security of lives and properties is assured thereby resulting to improved economic and commercial activities. People can go out and come back at any time without fear for business transactions.
The establishment of the Rivers State Neighborhood Safety Corp is one of the efforts put in place by the Rivers State Government security in the state.
Since the inception of this administration the Rivers State Government led by H. E. Nyesom Wike has never rested in its to ensure that the state is safe, secured and conducive for business to thrive.
The governor has been very supportive to the various security outfits in the state through logistics and moral support.
The Governor being proactive and having seen the shortfall of the Nigerian police evidenced through inadequate personnel decided to set up the Neighborhood Safety Corp to make up for inadequacies.