LEADERS of Yoruba Unity Forum and the Ijaw National Congress, on Wednesday, advocated for community policing, in finding lasting solution to crime and criminality in the country.
They spoke against the backdrop of recent attacks on some communities in Lagos/Ogun states, leading to wanton destruction of lives and property.
Tribune Online recalls that some communities in the axis were under attack by some people believed to be militants in recent weeks whereby many residents of the affected communities fled their homes for safety.
The leaders, who converged on the palace of the Akarigbo and Paramount Ruler of Remoland, Oba (Dr) Michael Adeniyi Sonariwo, in Sagamu, said the purpose of the parley was to rub minds with stakeholders in the area to ensure adequate peace among residents.
The Yoruba leaders, under the umbrella of the Yoruba Unity Forum, were led by Mr Yinka Odumakin while the Chairman of Bayelsa Elders Council, Chief Francis Dokpola, led other notable leaders of Ijaw nation to the meeting.
Traditional rulers from Remoland include the Odofin of Isonyindo, Oba Muibi Samuel Gisanrin; the Alado of Ado, Sagamu, Oba Solagbade Tijani; the Onigbepa of Igbepa, Oba Samuel Dawodu and the Aminisan of Oko, Sagamu, Oba Mufutau Adeoye-Sanni, were also in attendance.
Also at the meeting were the Area Commander of Sagamu Division, Mr Ali Janga, other security agencies and the Agbekoyas.
Odumakin said the forum worried by the development in the Yoruba communities, set up a committee to liase with the communities where the ugly incidents happened.
He said the parties considered it necessary to have an on-the-spot-assessment of the situation and to deliberate on the way forward to forestall such occurrences in the nearest future.
Odumakin also added that the Ijaw leaders were in Sagamu to pay special condolences to the families of those who lost their dear ones through the traditional rulers.
He explained that the only way out of this situation was for government to consider the option of state and community policing to deal with any kind of crimes.
“The consensus we have reached here today is that the perpetrators of the nefarious acts are criminal elements, who are going about disturbing the peace and killing people.
“We have given the Police the mandate to go after the criminals from both ends, arrest them and let them face the law. Nobody condone criminality. This must come to an end and whoever they are, they must be smoked out, dealt with and allow peace to reign in our communities.
“We have also said here today that this kind of conflict have brought to fore again, the need for state and community policing in Nigeria. Single policing has proven that they are helpless in this kind of situation.
“The Police are doing their best, but if you don’t know the terrain, you can get correct information to deal with this kind of crime. That is why we are calling for state policing to deal with this kind of crime,” Odumakin added.
Oba Gisanrin said traditional rulers in the axis were disturbed by the development, hence, the need for all stakeholders to discuss the way out of the security breach.
He also maintained that the people behind the killings were not mainly militants but criminals, while advising the Ijaw leaders to meet with their people in these communities
The monarch also threw his weight behind establishment of community policing to address any problem that could lead to breakdown of law and order.
In his own remarks, Dokpola, said there was need for them to visit the Yoruba communities affected by the attacks.
“We felt we should come to the Yorubas when this thing happened. All of us have agreed that all the people behind these are not Ijaw people, but criminals. We support community policing wholeheartedly,” he added.
The Area Commander said the hoodlums should be invited for dialogue if such move would bring peace to the area.
Janga assured that peace and normalcy had since returned to the affected communities and promised that the Police would continue to mount surveillance in the areas.
He explained that some arrests were made and also debunked media reports that the deputy governor of the state, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga, was attacked by militants, while she led a special delegation to the areas.