RVHA Explains Safety Corps Law

Chairman, Caretaker Committee of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, Prince Noble Amadi (left), with some of his counterparts in other local government areas, during their screening at the State House of Assembly Complex in Port Harcourt, recently. Photo: Ibioye Diama.

The Neighbourhood Watch and Safety Corps Bill recently passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly is to give legislative backing for the formation of local vigilante.
The Minority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Ferdinand Benibo Anabraba who disclosed this last Saturday while speaking on a live radio programme in Port Harcourt said it was aimed at bringing a platform for local vigilante because of their uncoordinated activities.
Anabraba who co supported the bill with Hon Major Jack said the law would make the outfit registered at the local government area of operation and screened by the Divisional Police station in that area which will eventually bring members of the corps before the public.
The lawmaker explained that the operation of the Neighborhood Watch would no longer be faceless since the local government and the divisional police station will open a registry for them and their operations coordinated.
According to him,’’ the bill stipulated that the activities of the outfit would be regulated by a board which will be charged with the administration of the outfit.
’’The Neighbourhood Watch and Safety Corps does not stop any community that wants to form vigilante or Neighbourhood Watch and Safety Corps. The only condition is that you must be registered and known to the agency. In places where the outfits are not covered, such groups can come in place’’, he said.
He informed that after the bill had passed the first reading, the executive took interest and there was a merger between the Rivers State Safety Corps Bill and the Rivers State Neighbourhood Watch Registration Bill into one and it became what is now known as Rivers State Neighbourhood Watch and Safety Corps Law.
‘’ The general idea of the law is to ensure effective policing as recommended by the United Nations policy which stated that there should be one policeman to 400 citizens. Unfortunately in Nigeria, what we have is one policeman to about 459 citizens and the estimated manpower of the police is 370,000.
“Inspectors General of Police past and present have been calling for community policing. Involvement of those who are being policed in the security of their communities therefore forms part of the basis for the corps and neighbourhood watch’’, he said.
He however noted that since the population is increasing and security manpower is over stretched, there is need for the outfit which will also help the police to gather intelligence easily in various communities.