Dr. Uche Mike Chukwuma

Neighbourhood Watch Operatives Enjoy Trust In Communities As Natural Stakeholders …Scoop For Information, Share With Security Agencies – Dr. Chukwuma

(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – The strength of the Rivers State Neigbhourhood Safety Watch Agency initiative is drawn from the fact that its operatives are natural stakeholders in the communities where they are posted thereby reducing cases of suspicion and lack of trust which have been a major limitation to the capability of established security agencies to obtain information from the people. This observation was made by the Director General of the Rivers State Neigbhourhood Safety Watch Agency, Dr. Uche Mike Chukwuma, retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, in a Radio pogramme in Port Harcourt on Saturday.

Dr. Chukwuma, who also explained that the mandate of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Watch Safety Agency, RSNSA, is to work with communities, and by so doing scoop for information for intelligence, and share them with security agencies such as the Nigeria police, Department of State Services, civil defense, the military, further hinted that the operatives also strive to prevent crimes and whenever there is a breach, that it is their duty to ensure that arrests are made. The Director General also said that the work of his men also includes monitoring to see how the information, and situation are managed but that their job ends when the matter gets to court, and is effectively in the hands of magistrates and judges to ensure that justice is done.

Responding t a question, Dr.Chukwuma explained that the disruption of their training in 2018 slowed down the effective take off and operations of the Neighbourhood Watch in Rivers State, but clarified that the Agency restrategized and continued with the training at the Civic Centre in Port Harcourt. According to him, subsequent training after the disruption were not publicized because they were in court with those challenging the legitimacy of Neighbourhood Watch. The Director General however thanked God that, on all fronts, the High Courts ruled in their favour, that the initiative was not illegal because the Rivers State Neighboourhood Watch Safety Agency has the backing of the law made by the Rivers State House of Assembly.

“We intend to use Neighbourhood Watch to recapture our security. Neigbhourhood Watch is about bringing the security of the state to the grass roots. We are taking people from within the state, training them, sending them back to the localities. Handing them over to the communities to work with. The concept is derivable from community policing”, the retired Assistant Commissioner of Police further explained, even as he disagreed that operatives of the state Neighbourhood Watch are not supposed to bear arms.

He recalled that, before Rivers State took steps to establish Neighbourhood Watch in 2018, other states have long established theirs, under different names. According to him, “in Anambra State vigilante were bearing arms; at Umuahia and  Owerri,  I saw them bearing arms. In many other states they are bearing arms. However, that of Rivers state is not arm bearing. We are supposed to work with the armed police”, he elaborated but maintained that he would support them bearing arms in future.

 

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