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Community Policing Committees (CPC) formally inaugurated in Katsina Ala, and Guma

Local Goverments of Benue state and in Northwest and Far North region of Cameroon.

“..On behalf of the Women we thank Lawyers Alert for including women in this process. We

are solidly behind the initiative and will do our best to enjoin our children and women to

embrace the community policing project” ~ Mrs. Atsember Onyi Grace (Women Rep. Guma)

“It is our prayer that the community policing project will bring about more cooperation

between the community and the security sectors in Gbajimba to restore more peaceful

coexistence in the region” ~ Christopher Waku (DGSA Guma Local Gov. Rep)

Above are some testimonies by communities at the formal inauguration of Community

Police Communities in Guma local government area of Benue state.

Recall we are implementing a community police project designed to achieve a rights-

based approach to security sector governance and accountability in Cameroon and

Nigeria with a focus on the linkage between insecurity, crisis, and rights. The

achievement of this goal is through two objective path-ways;

  • Empowered CPCs in project locations engage in the reduction of conflicts, promotion of human rights complaints, security response, and accountability.

  • Reduction in incidents of conflict, disrupted trade, food insecurity, poverty, and increased accountability for human rights.

  • We were able to finally achieve a huge milestone in the project via the inauguration of the Community Police Committees in both project locations

This was quite a journey that started about a year ago with the setting up of an all-

inclusive steering committee in Nigeria to drive the project on the platform of total

ownership. The steering committee comprised Lawyers Alert, Nigeria Police Force,

Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), CSOs, and Benue Volunteer Guard.

In Cameroon we could not establish an all- inclusive Steering Committee because of the

initial suspicion and fear by security agencies haven not obtained clearance from the

security echelons in the country. Nonetheless across both countries, Lawyers Alert

conducted a one year intensive community engagements with various stakeholders

including vigilante groups, women and youth groups, opinion leaders, traditional rulers,

religious leaders, existing vigilante groups in Cameroon, the Nigeria Security and Civil

Service Corps (NSCDC), and the Volunteer Guards, a security outfits.

The objective of the several engagements was to ensure that stakeholders gained a

comprehensive understanding of human rights perspectives, recognize the importance

of fostering trust between communities and security establishments, close gaps that

foster insecurity amongst stakeholders, and facilitate project ownership within

communities. These efforts were aimed at ultimately establishing the Community

Policing Committees (CPCs).

The CPCs were inaugurated in all four project locations, with 20 members in each

location. All existing community pillars, such as traditional heads, the police, religious

leaders, Women, and Youth representatives, and vigilante groups PWDs have

representation on CPCs.

The CPC will act as community mediators and an accountability mechanism,

overseeing and advocating for local interests in policing activities in Katsina-Ala and

Guma in Benue State, Nigeria, and the Northwest and Far North region of Cameroon.

For Nigeria Section 113 of the Police Act, 2020 stipulates that “For the effective and

efficient policing of communities in a state or Federal Capital Territory, the

Commissioner of Police of a state shall establish community policing committee (in this

Act referred to as “Policing Committee) which shall consist of representatives of the

Police Force and the local communities in the state.”

The successful setting up and inauguration of the Community Policing Committees at

the Divisional Level of Katsina Ala and Guma Local Government Areas in Nigeria is the

first and only deliberate activation of the Community Policing Committee in Nigeria. This

is a huge and remarkable achievement/result for this project.

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