Recently, I conceptualized the establishment of The International Institute of Community Policing (IICOPOL) Idah Kogi State in Nigeria. The IICOPOL IDAH project aimed at togetherness, peace and safety is to work towards promotion of cultural ideals of community policing in Nigeria and the world. This shall be carried out through the instrumentality of engaging the police/security agents and the public in research, training and advocacy programs.
The IICOPOL is aims are achievable through innovative research, training and advocacy based on the philosophy of community policing in the context of newest research orientations. We may want to note that the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government of Nigeria constituted the Community Policing Programme in 2017 to further entrench the culture of partnership for crime prevention and control.
As salient as this programme, this is not the first time such ceremony was conducted. The need to avoid repeated failures and unfulfilled promises has presented the IICOPOL as a timely project of an undeniable relevance in Nigeria.
The conceptualisation of the Institute is directly linked to the recommendations of my doctoral research completed in 2016 at the University of Liverpool in Great Britain. It may interest you to note that my doctoral research which focused on the UK-DFID’s overseen community policing initiative in Nigeria has achieved ‘High praise’ in Britain, assessed as being the first of its kind, directly policy relevant’ and ‘clearly opens the door to post-doctoral research’.
The external examiner recommended that the doctoral thesis entitled Community policing: Exploring the police and community relationship for crime control in Nigeria ‘be developed into a published book and widely made available to western governments who are interested in carrying out policing and security reforms.I’m delighted to say that I have presented my community policing research in about sixteen fora such as the British Sociological Association conference held in London (2013), Leeds (2014), Glasgow (2015), Manchester (2017), British Society of Criminology conference in Liverpool (2014), Polish Academy of Sciences Institute of Sociology and Philosophy (Warsaw, 2012) and in Paris, France etc. My doctoral research thesis has successfully made the 2016 Honor Lists of the British Sociological Association in recognition of its capability to enhance positive change.
In an interview session with the press team at my graduation ceremony in December 2016 at the University of Liverpool, I clearly stated that: ‘The time has come to put recommendations into implementation by engaging in advocacy with the public on community policing in Nigeria’. As a citizen, the urgent need and passion to contribute towards restoration of peace and safety in Nigeria and the world marked the driving force behind my inspiration in 2010 to embark on doctoral research. As a demonstration of relevance of this enterprise, my research proposal earned overseas scholarship of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Study Leave with Pay of the Kogi State University Anyigba (KSU) in 2011. KSU is owned by Kogi State Government of Nigeria. On request, Idah Local Government Council in 2013, approved the sum of three hundred thousand naira only as fund support the field work programme.
I confirm that a reputable Board of Trustees and Advisory Board have been constituted and the IICOPOL constitution has been adopted following considerations at series of meetings of the Steering Committee, conveyed for this purpose. The appointments to the Board of Directors and staff of different categories shall take effect through transparent recruitment exercise at the appropriate time when incorporation procedures have been completed. The IICOPOL is at the advance stage of registration process and the support of the local, national, and international stakeholders is overwhelming.We are delighted to announce that IICOPOL has received approval of the management of Idah Secondary Commercial College (ISCC IDAH) to serve as the temporary site and a piece of land for the project’s permanent take off in Nigeria. While we are gladly congratulating IICOPOL for this feat, we therefore would like to use this medium to appreciate the passionate support of the College Principal Mr Musa Opaluwa, the College Proprietor the Idah Divisional Development Association (IDDA, comprising Idah Federal Constituency) for the selfless role in this regard.
We are using this medium to call on the Chief Host of the IICOPOL, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari and the Host of the IICOPOL, the Executive Governor of Kogi State, His Excellency Alhaji Yahaya Bello as a matter of urgency to kindly attend to the following to improve on the security and infrastructure of Idah, the home of IICOPOL in Nigeria:
- Reconstruction and rehabilitation of Idah township road
- Construction of Idah-Agenebode bridge
- Completion of Idah-Odolu-Nsukka road
- Dualization of Idah-Ajegu road to fully connect with the Lokoja-Abuja.
- Completion of Idah-Umomi-Ejule-Ogidibeje road
- Completion of Idah-Odogu-Utacha-Anambra road
- Re-establishment of Military Garrison at Idah to sufficiently safeguard IICOPOL.
- Establishment of Squadron of the Nigeria Mobile Police Force in Idah
- Development of Tourism industry in Idah, Lokoja and other areas in Kogi State
- Rehabilitation of the Police Barracks in Idah and deployment of more police and other security operatives.
- Rehabilitations of the dilapidated buildings of all State and Federal Agencies and schools in Idah.
- Re-construction of Idah Aerodrome to connect with Airports in Abuja, Lagos and other important cities in Nigeria.
- Rehabilitation of water facilities in Idah
- Upgrade of Electricity at Idah to the National Grid.
Idah, the official home of the IICOPOL is the Administrative and political headquarters of Kogi East Senatorial District and headquarters of Idah Local Government Council in Nigeria. Idah is an ancient town and one of the old of a kind in Africa and was famous for cultural, political and commercial functions. Historical evidences have clearly demonstrated that Idah was the headquarters of the defunct Igala country that commenced as early as eleventh century and the seat of the revered monarch the Ata Igala. Idah was the base of a politically independent Igala state until the British colonial and imperial activities in the area. Between 1918 and 1968, Idah served as the headquarters of defunct Igala Native Authority and the Headquarters of defunct Igala Division of the defunct Kabba Province (with headquarters at Lokoja) of Northern Nigeria (with headquarters at Kaduna).
Upon the rating of Igala Native Authority, assessed as being second only to Kano Native Authority in terms of economic viability was to be considered for Provincial status but for the unfortunate military coup of 1966. Till today, it is on the strength of the administrative and the cultural structures of Kogi East Senatorial District that are being unanimously clamoured for consideration as Okura State by the people of the area. The choice of Idah as the base of IICOPOL is by no means accidental, as it had served as the base of British Colonial administration in Nigeria.
Idah served as the Trading Post to the Royal Niger Company and John-Hot. Hence, Idah was the administrative base of the British Colonial Divisional Officers such as Mr G. T. Mott, Mr Clifford Miles, Mr Boyle and Mr D. J. Muffet, at their respective times, overseeing the affairs of Igala Division, comprising of the present Kogi East Senatorial District.
In 1903, a Military Garrison was established in Idah, following the directive of Mr Leslie Robyn, the British Colonial Governor- in-Charge of Northern Nigeria at the time. The Idah Aerodrome was established at the same period with Kano Aerodrome in 1950s but today we have Kano International Airport. Idah is a River Port with an established Naval Base and host of educational and many other facilities such as the Federal Polytechnics Idah, College of Health Technology Idah and Federal Government College Ugwolawo. Idah is the headquarters of Idah Zone of Nigeria Police Force where the Area Commander (Assistant Commissioner of Police) for Kogi East Senatorial District resides and the seat of Kogi East Commander of the Nigeria Civil Defence and Peace Corps etc.
In this light, the IICOPOL IDAH’s platform shall in partnership and collaborations with relevant stakeholders, shall ensure that the right message of community policing philosophy shall get to the fabrics of every police and other security formations, family units in Nigeria, Africa, and the world. With a research background in area of sociological criminology and community policing, I’m confident that the proposed globally connected Centre of excellence would have a successful heavy presence in every state of the country. This Institute will provide the twenty-first century knowledge and skills to ensure enabling culture for the innovative practice of community policing and to fervently work towards reduction of crime and global terrorism and to ensure community safety.
In this light, there shall be an unprecedented employment opportunity for the qualified youths in Nigeria and internationally. I therefore solicit supports of individuals, civil society organizations, the governments at all levels in Nigeria and international community to enable me to fulfil this peace-enhancing goal. it was high time to take the security architecture of the nation to the next level of development. The caliber of profiled personalities and organizations across the world identifying with the IICOPOL project speaks volume of its central place in the context of the struggle to achieve world peace at all costs and by all legitimate means. Indeed, the IICOPOL, as it is under-going process of registration currently, has a fundamental mandate to help the Mr. President, being the chief security officer of the nation, in bringing the desired lasting peace to Nigeria and beyond. It is a task we must achieve together.
– Dr Aminu Musa Audu is a UK based researcher, founder of the IICOPOL and a Trustee of the British Sociological Association.