The Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN) Programme supported the creation of Community Accountability Forums (CAFs) to promote the collaboration between security service providers and members of the public in community policing. In Yobe state, these platforms are convened by the Communal Support Foundation in four LGAs (Bade, Geidam, Nguru and Potiskum) and are responding to concerns of security and safety raised at community town hall meetings.
REMAND HOMES FOR MINORS
In Bade, Nguru and Potiskum LGAs, the CAFs have influenced the local councils to renovate and run remand homes to address the rising involvement of minors in criminal activities. This was considered necessary to protect the minors from criminal elements who house and use them for criminal activities. The initiative would also prevent children from becoming victims of extra-judicial killings given the risk of aggrieved victims of theft taking the laws into their hands.
In Nguru and Potiskum LGAs, the CAFs responded to public concerns about the presence and activities of drug peddlers and thieves in the central market and cattle market. Coordinated investigation and raids on the markets led to the arrest of perpetrators. Members of the public report the markets are safer as result of the arrests made.
BETTER ROAD SAFETY
The Geidam CAF addressed two concerns of the public about road safety. Through the intervention of the CAF, the Works Department of the local council has reduced the size and increased the distance between road breakers to the satisfaction of road users. Action initiated by the CAF has also curbed parking on unauthorised spots on the road by lorries and other vehicles. The CAF also influenced local authorities to stop operations of illegal motor parks by commercial drivers and erection of make-shift stops by traders in unauthorised locations that undermined security.
In Bade, the CAF intervened to address reported extortion by security officers, which was affecting relations between members of the public and security agencies. Following meetings with the heads of security agencies in the area, signposts warning people to desist from giving money to security officers were placed in all checkpoints. The signposts also contained hotlines for use by members of the public. Community members attest that officers have stopped extortion since the measures were introduced.
'We appreciate the leadership of the market for collaborating with us on stopping the sale and abuse of illicit drugs. This has given us a sense of confidence that stakeholders are beginning to understand their responsibilities.'
Fidelis Ihejirika, NDLEA, Area Commander, Potiskum, Yobe State
'Our members now go through checkpoints with ease and without the fear of extortion by security personnel. The relationship between drivers and security personnel has significantly improved.'
Ali Ibrahim Dagona, NURTW Secretary, Bade LGA