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.
The bill was considered during Thursday plenary presided over by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey.
The Akwa Ibom State Neighborhood Safety Corps Bill, 2019, which was read the second time in the House, was sponsored by the member representing Uyo State Constituency, Hon. Anietie Eka, with 14 other members in support.
In his submission, the lead sponsor of the bill, said with the establishment of the Agency in the State, a complementary 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 youths 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 that the local people are more conversant with the terrain of their communities than Police Officers.
She added that if community people were 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 was the reason South/South Governors had 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 would mostly take effect at night.
The Information Committee Chairman and also member representing Etinan State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Aniefiok Denis said the relevant committee will consider the bill to place it side by side with the already existing Vigilante bill to reconcile grey area.
While opposing the bill, Rt. Hon Mark Esset of Nsit Atai State Constituency said security issues were capital intensive and that with the ravaging pandemic virus which had crippled the world economy, it was 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 adjourned plenary till, Thursday, May 14, 2020.