By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
To battle the escalating insecurity, community policing will soon take off across the country, the National Economic Council (NEC) said on Thursday.
The new security plan, which is expected to halt killings, kidnappings, banditry and insurgency in many parts of the country, has got N13 billion cash approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule announced the decisions at the end of NEC’s sixth meeting this year, which was virtual, except for the attendance of a few of the members at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa.
Sule was one of those who attended the meeting at the Villa. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presided.
He said the decision was taken after a report by the adhoc committee on security and policing, headed by Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, was submitted to the Council.
The ad-hoc panel, according to him, met August 4, to review the growing security challenges in the country.
The governors also requested for more funding for states and the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to enable them to meet security obligations.
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Sule said the meeting received briefings from the NSA, Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) and the Department of State Services (DSS).
He said: “Council resolved that the chair of the NGF (Nigeria Governors’ Forum) with two other governors would meet with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Finance Minister and the Inspector-General of Police to co-ordinate the proper utilisation of the N13 billion funding of community policing in the states.
“State governments have been overwhelmed by insecurity expenditures and there is the need by the federal government to inject more funds to augment expenses by the states, among others.”
“The meeting made several observations and came up with recommendation, that would help government tackle insecurity in the country.”
Community policing is the middle-of-the road proposal by Inspector-General (IG) Mohammed Adam following the cry for State Police as panacea to the security challenge.
The attempt by the Southwest states to a regional police was also blocked, forcing the states to decentralise Operation Amotekun.
The NEC also received reports on the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country; flood disaster risk management for 2020, and compensation payments on federal highway project across the country.
The meeting commended the efforts and commitment of the federal government in containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting States’ response capacity through various interventions.
The NCDC report indicates that positive cases have fallen from 19.7% in June to 13.7% this month, while number of states with testing laboratories increased from 2 to 32, including the FCT.
According to the status report presented to the council, “the average tests per day has risen from 500 at the onset of the outbreak to 3,500 today, while the daily laboratory testing capacity increased to 10,000.”
Council also received recommendations from the adhoc committee some of which include: the states and FCT to look for ways of upscaling the communication at the grass-root level/ non-compliance to non-pharmaceutical interventions.
- The need for states and FCT to explore the suggested use of local networks and traditional institutions such as Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) for re-orientation of the people at the grassroots who had continuously lived in denial of the pandemic, thereby displaying nonchalant attitude towards the laid down protocols.
- States and FCT should engage the services of respected community influencers such as the heads of “Area Boys”, market women, and villagers, in disseminating the same message to the grassroots using different modes/media that are common to such people and could easily attract their attention.
Also at the meeting, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, gave detailed balances of the various national financial accounts: Excess Crude Account (ECA) Balance as at 18th August 2020 = $72,408,119.44
Stabilization Fund Account
Balance as at 18th August 2020 = N44, 207, 377,110.34
Natural Resources Development Fund Account
Balance as at18th August 2020 = N144, 047, 195, 020.54