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FCTA earmarks N500m for community policing

In order to ensure adequate protection of lives and property across the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), authorities of the FCT Administration have earmarked the sum of N500,000,000 for the effective prosecution of the community policing initiative of the Federal Government.

The amount is targeted at providing the logistics support for the scheme, which has been fully embraced by the government and the communities in the entire 8,000 square kilometres of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Minister of FCT, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, disclosed this during the FCT security committee meeting Thursday in Gwarinpa I District, Abuja.

According to him, “the FCT Administration will make available the sum of N500 million for the implementation of the community policing initiative in the six Area Councils of the Territory”.

Bello said the administration’s contribution to the scheme is in recognition of the importance the government attaches to the project, which if properly implemented, would curb all forms of criminality in the Territory.

The minister, therefore, charged the Chairmen of the six area councils of the territory to also contribute at least N100 million each to further boost the capability of the nation’s security agencies in fighting crime.

Bello, urged stakeholders in Abuja, to ensure the sustainability of the community policing project, appealed to traditional rulers, and chairmen of the councils to own the laudable strategy so as to complement the efforts of the security agencies.

“This fund made available will strategically be used for the activities, training and payment of allowances to the volunteers of the community policing,” he said.

In a related development, the FCT security committee also introduced a code of conduct barring members of the vigilante groups operating in the various communities in the territory from using prohibited firearms.

In the newly established code of conduct for members of the vigilante group, the security committee also prohibited the vigilante from carrying out any operation without the presence of the police or the express approval of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), in their respective jurisdiction.

However, members of the vigilante are permitted to possess and use weapons for self-defence or other lawful purposes as allowed by the DPO.

Similarly, the new approved code required that any member of the group, who recovers a hazardous weapon from a criminal suspect is expected to keep a detailed account and report to the police for further investigation.

The committee permitted the vigilante group to make arrests of anyone, who violates the laws of the land as allowed under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

It agreed that any community desirous of establishing a Vigilante group should apply and obtain the approval of the DPO within the locality.

On the recruitment of members of the vigilante group, the FCT security committee, which is the highest decision-making body on security matters resolved that the process must be supervised by the Community Accountability Forum (CAF) /Security Committee of the community concerned.

The CAF is to ensure a fair representation of all segments of society and avoid religious, political, and ethnic persuasion. The meeting also agreed that all those to be recruited must be properly profiled by the community leaders and security agencies.

In a statement issued to newsmen in Abuja on Sunday, by the FCT Director of Information and Communication, Muhammed Hazat Sule, the FCT Administration encouraged communities to form vigilante groups to complement the work of security agencies, especially in gathering intelligence and boosting the fight against criminals.

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