….Donates Security Items, As Foundation Awards Scholarships to Nine Undergrads
Former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, has once again underscored the imperative of citizens participation in effective policing in Edo State amid dire security challenges in the state.
Arase, who clocked 66 on Tuesday, also donated items worth millions of naira in support of securing the seven local government areas that comprise the Edo South senatorial district where he hails from.
A strong advocate of community policing, the former number one police officer in the country, also gave out some scholarships to nine university undergraduates through his Solomon Arase Foundation.
Speaking at the maiden Annual Lecture series/scholarship awards of the Foundation with the theme “Citizens Inclusion in Security Management: Edo State Model”, Arase said studies have shown that criminals thrive, and state security remains perpetually threatened, in a state where there is a deep gulf between policing agencies on the one hand, and the citizens on the other hand.
He asserted that “Therefore, there must come a time in the life of a state when all the citizens must of necessity resolve to frankly engage with their law enforcement agencies and build a strong synergy in order to defeat a common enemy”.
According to him, “For us as people of Edo State, there is no other auspicious time for this than NOW!
“Our gathering here today, is therefore, a clear and loud statement that the Edo people and their law enforcement agencies are now determined to close up the gulf that weakens our common resolve, forge a united front, and advance hand-in-hand as true patriots, to confront the criminal elements that have been feasting on our hitherto disunited relationship.
“The core objective is to challenge the citizens on their roles within the security system and encourage the spirit of police-community partnership as a strategy towards addressing crimes such as terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, farmers/herders’ conflict, and other crimes”.
The former IGP noted that the nation’s revered traditional institutions were known to be strong social control actors who had been deploying their grass-roots reach and time-tested cultural frameworks for information collection and dissemination, crime detection, and dispute resolution at community level.
He said their strong knowledge of history, culture, norms, and customary practices, as well as their reverence by their subjects, were vital assets that could be tapped into to engender community-driven policing, and address local and national crime and security challenges.
“This citizens-driven internal security model where youths with different components of the local community, volunteer to complement the state by forming themselves into Vigilante/Hunters’ Association and Community Defence Bodies to protect their communities from attacks, have proved effective. The strength of these groups lies not in the sophistication of their firearms, training, or pecuniary benefits, but in their exemplary courage, passion for their communities, and advantage of full understanding of the topography of their community”, he added.
The security expert stressed that the security model has proven to be potent and effective as exemplified by the Amalgamated Afemai Forum, (Oduma Squad) and the Esan variant of Atanakpa, and “appealed to our brothers and sisters to be gracious enough to support our community defence bodies in the protection of our homeland”.
The items donated by the Foundation included a Sienna salon car, 500 motorcycles,1,400 customised T-shirts, 1,400 customised fez caps, 1,400 whistles, raincoats- and torch lights.
The former Inspector General of Police, while disclosing that some of the items were provided by his friends and associates, said “We will still need to support these defence bodies by the procurement of relevant items such as: Walkie talkies, Cell phones, Denim trousers, canvas/boots, and stipends for operatives”.
He advised the recipients of the kits and accoutrements to judiciously apply them to benefit communities and not deploy them for personal uses.
Of the beneficiaries of the scholarship awards, eight are for Medicine, and one for Law, and the awards were given under the auspices of the Solomon Arase Foundation. Each of the recipients would be entitled to a sum of ₦100, 000 to enable the students pay their school fees.
Speaking at the event, Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, thanked Arase for his leadership, and the support he has given him. Obaseki noted that though the former IGP was not one of the wealthy retired officers, he is rich in spirit.
He said the greatest lesson to learn from the scholarship awards was that everyone should go back and start doing something to assist the less- privileged.