By Daniel Bulusson, Esq
“…a diamond lost in the mud, no matter its value cannot be seen and therefore cannot shine”
In the hay days before the coming of the colonial masters, there was an African culture that exist amongst the people, this culture originated from the family and then transcends to the community i.e school, worship centers, neighborhood, markets, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. We had a ‘king’, ‘Igwe’, ‘Oba’, ‘Emir’ ruling the people from the palace, villagers with different skill and trade engaged in hunting, farming, palm wine tappers, and some warriors to protect the boundary. The people brought produce from their labor to pay to the king, (this was a form of tax), disputes between members of the community were brought to the palace for settlement, they had peer groups meeting to discuss issues affecting the community (the elders on the one side, the mothers on the other side and then the youths) and so many cultures alikes.
During era of the African culture, everyone knew who he/her neighbor was, training of a child was not considered a sole responsibility of the parent, the elders of the community were also responsible for ensuring the youths of the community stay away from vices that will endanger the society. Sadly, in today’s era, the children dictate to the parent what they want to do, and not the other way round, i.e majority of the parents no longer correct a child that does wrong, because they don’t want to offend the child. To make matters worse, in our schools today (which is the next stage of learning for a child after the family) a teacher cannot discipline a child in school for fear of the parent coming to complain or embarrass the school.
The African culture, a jewel now forgotten had a module that effectively protected the lives and properties of its people to the extent that if a stranger came into the community, the people will notice and try to find out the background of such stranger. Naturally there are miscreants in every society, but then the people of the community knew who they were, and how to handle them.
Back to our digital age, after the colonial masters have come and gone, our society is now bedeviled with high crime rate and insecurity than the traditional era, not because we did not have a foundation that could be used to curb these crimes, but because we have forgotten to resort back to our African culture. To my mind, for Nigeria to win the war on insecurity, we need to go back to communal form of living, neighbors ought to know the neighbors they live with, community policing should be introduced so that locals of the community fully aware of the happenings of the community, are the ones given the mantle to be in charge of security.
In the resolve to improve on the security of the nation, some state governors have pitched their tent in the school of thought of creating regional security outfit to oversee the security of lives and properties of their people. This writer, though in support of community policing, does not support the creation of regional security outfits who will replicate and duplicate the functions of the Nigerian Police, Civil Defense. I say this because, a regional outfit would only help in creating a conundrum of duplicity of functions and powers between the security agencies.
The Nigerian Police Force, a creation of statute has operated on a national level from its inception to date, meaning it already has a solid structure with different departments saddled with investigating specific areas of crime, same with the Nigerian Civil Defense Corp also responsible for internal security. Instead of creating regional security outfits to be manned by barely trained civilians to duplicate the functions of the already existing security agencies, why not decentralize the police to state levels, where each state is responsible for its own policing.
The coming of the colonial master should not make us forget our African culture, rather, we ought to use their innovations, teachings, ideas and technology to improve the African culture to shine and claim its prideful place against foreign customs and traditions.
May God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
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