Bosinde Araikpe is thefounder of the Bosinde Araikpe Global Peace Initiative, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that promotes good relations between security agencies and the public. He spoke extensively with the Acting Features Editor, Arnold Alalibo, about the activities of the initiative. Excerpts:
What is the focus of the Bosinde Araikpe Global Peace Initiative?
It is an organisation that bridges the gap between security agencies and the public. We ensure that the public has a better and friendly working relationship with security agencies and the government. Our focus is to see collective participation of the public in security activities. Our focus is to see friendship between the public and security agencies. Our focus is to see everyone safe anywhere, any day and any time knowing that they are part of it. That is the major reason this organisation is here to stay.
How long have you been in existence?
Well, we first came in 2014 when we launched “the police is your friend with Bosinde” with a dinner with the commissioner of police where we gathered market women, taxi drivers, and the public to come and eat with the commissioner of police and have dinner with him at police officers’ mess, where there was a question and answer session. Since then we have been hosting them, making sure they hold this meeting with the commissioner annually. We now registered an NGO to present the activities we have which is the birth of The Bosinde Araikpe Global Peace Initiative. The NGO was registered and incorporated by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in this year, 2018. Upon that incorporation, we decided to launch out our activities.
In how many states does the organisation exist?
Well, that question should have been a simple number answering question like three states, ten states. But we are not going to really say the number of states we exist. The reason is this; the world is now a global space where people can sit in one environment and control things in every other environment. So, our organisation is a global one as the name implies. That word “global” is not a mistake. It was something we knew it was the standard and the focus and the largeness that we are aiming for and that we have achieved because we are global. When you’re on social media, you are a global person. However, we have on-ground personnel in Rivers State. Our activities are majorly done in Rivers State. But from Rivers, we have accessed other states in the country and even Accra, Ghana.
Where are you located in Rivers State?
We have our contact office at 301 Woji Road, GRA, phase two, Port Harcourt. You could call on us there. Apart from that our organisation is not one that sits at one place to act. We are a mobile organisation that moves from place to place to ensure that things are done. So, we are available wherever the need arises and whenever we know something needs to be done. For instance, we move from police stations to police formations both tactical units and divisions. We go round and highlight their achievements to the public. We also go round and see people that are detained unlawfully and talk about it with the police. People call on phone and tell us that they have issues with the police. We give them free consultation. We don’t charge. We tell them the reason why they have problem with the police.
What other ways can you be reached by those who need your services?
We can also be reached on the social media. We have platforms on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. On Facebook, we at www.facebook.com/Bosindelive. On Instagram we are @bosindelive and on Twitter @bosindelive. We also have phone numbers: I can be reached directly on 08039456424. Our office line is: 08165639144. The lines of some principal staff are: 08020632518 and 08116972967. Our email is: Bosindelive@gmail.com.
How are you funded, since you don’t charge for your services?
That is one major area we thank you for asking. Funding is something that is required like the air we breathe. Right now the organisation has no sponsors or donors. We lack all of that for now. But we are looking at a situation where people will come up to us and fund us. Martin Luther King has a quote that: “If you can’t run you should jog. If you can’t jog you should walk. If you can’t walk you could crawl. But by all means you should keep moving”. Now, that is our determination. That is how much we are determined. We don’t have funding. Every programme we have has been at our own expenses. We have been making sure we are on our own because any vision that is based on money will die. Money is secondary. There is a level of determination in every individual that will give birth to funding. We have that determination. Funding is a major challenge but be it as it may, we are determined to go forward. We are careful of who should support us because what we are into is security. We don’t want criminals to support us. We call on well-meaning Nigerians to support us. The little you are seeing is personal effort.
Are you in partnership with other agencies whether at home or abroad?
We are not in partnership with any foreign agency for now but we are praying God to bring this partnership to us. However, within Nigeria, to enable us carry out this security activity properly, we are actually in partnership with the Nigeria Police Force. Why we are in partnership with them is not funding. We are in partnership with them because we inter-relate with their activities. We are also in partnership with the NSCDC and of course even the military. We relate with the armed forces. In Rivers State, I have had meetings with the director-general of the neighbourhood watch and we are in partnership with them because our ideas have to do with security. We also meet with private guard companies. We want to understand anything security and how it is going and what the public needs to know about it so that we can get it to them.
Can you throw light on the free customised bottle water for police officers and traffic wardens? What is it about?
The free traffic water idea is borne out of our zeal to support the police and other security agents on their welfare package. All over the world the police are treated with love, especially in the developed countries, because that is where they understand the importance of a policeman. In Nigeria, the police have personal friends but they don’t have a collective friend. Why is it so? A lot of people have had bitter experience with the police and units of the police like the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. Many people have had experiences with them and because of these experiences, people lack trust and love for them. There’s biased feeling against the police. While we keep pushing them and talking to them to be better and treat people with love and respect, we also want to look for a medium to show that we are not against them. Rather, we support them to do well. So, the essence of the traffic water is to ensure that they have something to quench their thirst with when they are on duty. We feel for them as they remain in the sun to discharge their duties. We are making them understand that the public loves them and that they should return this love. Now, this is one of many projects we intend to carry out. We are also looking at welfare packages for children of lower officers in the police because they are the real people that carry the guns in the streets to protect lives and they have to be taken care of.
What can you tell us about the show: “Security Bridge with Bosinde Live”?
Well, like I have said, our aim and objective, our mission, our focus are all in line. There is nothing we do that is outside this aim and objective. Ours is to bridge the gap. Now, to further bridge that gap, we have realised that there needs to be regular relationship between security agencies and the members of the public. There has to be an avenue where the police will give account of what they are doing. The essence of Bosinde Live show is for the public to interact with officers and men of the police, especially the heads of departments. That opportunity has been lacking. What we also do is to honour low ranking police officers.
When is the programme scheduled to hold and where?
The programme holds every last Sunday of the month at Golden Tulip Hotel. It is a four-star hotel located at No. 1 Evo Crescent, off Evo Road, GRA, phase two, Port Harcourt. Now, 4 pm to 5 pm is arrival and opening. 5 pm events start. 7.30 pm we close. You don’t pay money to attend the event.
Any major challenges?
There are major challenges. I am a married man with a wife. I have staff. So I have challenges. I have the public to deal with. Most times calls come and they are very difficult to talk about. You don’t even know who to call to start with and start helping someone you have not seen face to face. But the biggest challenge we have is in our mind. The biggest challenge we have is waking up every morning and asking ourselves ‘can we really go out today’? Other challenges we have are finance. A job like this we need to be mobile. We need an office space good enough to accommodate people that come to see us. We need more staff to be able to reach out to other states. We need to pay salaries. All these and more are our challenges.