By Ochiaka Ugwu
Mainstreaming peacebuilding in policing and general operations of the Nigeria Police will go a long way in rethinking and rebuilding trust between the Police Institution and the Nigerian public, Director General of Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Dr. Bakut Tswah Bakut has said.
Bakut who made this known Tuesday at a National Conference titled: “Rebuilding Trust and Confidence between the Police and the Public” organized by the institute in partnership with Peace for Africa Initiative in Abuja noted the theme of the event cannot be over emphasized considering the fact that it falls within a period when Nigeria is witnessing high level of security challenges in various parts of the country orchestrated either as a counter reaction by citizens to police non adherence to Rules of engagement (ROFs) in their operations or as an organized violence against the police by non-state actors.
He informed that in any democratic society, police are the frontline institution of first resort, the first line of defence against crime and anarchy and the first sign of the strength of any state.
Continuing, Bakut said that a cursory assessment of the state of the Nigeria Police reveals that part of the challenges that have plagued the Police Force are not unconnected to challenges of operational accountability to the people which has been the missing link between the police and the people they serve.
Also speaking, Founder and Board President of Peace for Africa Initiative, Dr. Robert Anya Nkata said the initiative is a non-governmental organization with focus on peacebuilding and conflict resolution.
Nkata said the initiative was mainly established to promote peace all over Africa and Nigeria in particular.
He said their collaboration with IPCR was made possible because they share common goal of promoting peace and conflict prevention.
Nkata stated that both organizations understood the importance of early warning system and maintained without equivocation that both organizations share the same ideology of “A stitch in time saves nine” which he said was the reason for the conference.
The conference was attended by major stakeholders in peace building and conflict resolution.