Mr. Alioune Badiane of UN-HABITAT with the Inspector General, Nigeria Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo
Over 200 Nigerian police officers are gathered in Abuja for a training aimed at bettering their skills in maintaining law and order in urban areas.
The three day Safer Cities Expert Group meeting on Policing Urban Spaces that is hosted by the Nigeria Police, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UN-HABITAT is also being attended by 20 International experts, police commissioners as well as youth and civil society organizations.
Officially opening the function, Mr. Ibrahim Y. Lame, Minister of Police Affairs, Federal Ministry of Police Affairs, Federal Republic of Nigeria said: In order to enhance the mobility and social cohesion in urban spaces, local authorities and police as well the community should work hand in hand, to reduce opportunities for committing crime and violence, and that security does not only work with the police but, with community participation".
Mr. Ogbonna Onovo, the Nigerian Inspector General of Police, invited the media to be pro-active in reporting crime issues. As the Fourth Estate, he said, media is a powerful channel which can be used to inform, educate and create awareness in the positive work that the police are doing. Most often, he said the media portrayed the police as being the problems.
At a press conference after the opening session, Mr. Alioune Badiane, Director, Regional Office for Africa and Arab States, UN-HABITAT, said that Insecurity in urban spaces is a major constraint to access urban services, opportunities and social activities for urban residents. He added that the problem needed to be addressed urgently across the globe, in a diversity of cultural and urban contexts, where public spaces are increasingly being made unsafe through real and perceived insecurity, privatization and lack of proper planning among others.
Hoping to address rising crimes in cities, UNODC and UN-Habitat in partnership with other United Nations agencies and national public institutions such as the Nigerian Police Force and the Swedish National Police Board have joined hands to promote research on urban crime. The aim is to provide an overview of approaches and issues connected to policing urban spaces.
A major output of these efforts is the publication of the Draft Handbook on the Role of Police in Urban Spaces.