The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has proposed the setting up of Neighborhood Safety Corps Agency as a tool to curb insecurity and ensure safety of lives and properties within the State.

This was a matter under consideration by the State House of Assembly during its plenary today which was presided over by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey.

The Akwa Ibom State Neighborhood Safety Corps Bill, 2019 which was read the second time and sponsored by Member representing Uyo State Constituency, Hon. Anietie Eka with 14 other members, was unanimously supported by the legislators.

In his submission, the lead sponsor of the bill, Hon. Anietie Eka said with the establishment of the Agency in the State, a complimentary role will be played to the State Police department and the security gap will be closed in the local communities within the State.

He also emphasised the issue of employment opportunities which will be available to the youth as the process will be democratized.

He referred to other States of the federation which had long keyed into the idea of local policing, mentioning States like Sokoto, Kaduna, Taraba and Anambra.

In her contribution, Hon. Charity Ido of Ukanafun State constituency acknowledged the fact that the local people are more conversant with the terrain of their communities than Police Officers from the State which posed some of the security hitches in the community level. She added that if community people are involved in the security of their properties more will be achieved as the people will have that sense of responsibility.

Member of Esit Eket/Ibeno State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Usoro Akpanusoh noted the timeliness of the bill and said it is the reason South/South Governors have agreed to enforce local policing in their communities to boost security.

In his view, Rt. Hon. David Lawrence of Eket State Constituency said with the establishment of the Agency, the duties of community vigilante will be complemented as it mostly take effect at night.

The Information Committee Chairman and also member representing Etinan State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Aniefiok Denis urged the relevant committee which will consider the bill to place it side by side with the already Vigilante bill to reconcile grey areas so that there will be smooth running of the Agency when established.

While opposing the bill, Rt. Hon Mark Esset of Nsit Atai State Constituency said security issues are capital intensive and with the ravaging pandemic virus which has crippled the world economy, it is advisable that the issue of security be discussed after the containment of the virus.

However, the bill has been sent to the House Committee on Security, Youth and Sport for consideration and to report back to the House within one month.

The House has however adjourned plenary till, Thursday, May 14, 2020.

Press Unit
Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.


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