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FG approves N13.3 billion take off for community policing

The Federal Government has approved the sum of N13.3 billion for the take-off of Community Policing initiative across the country.

This is as the World Bank has cleared 35 states for the US$1.5billion stimulus package for Nigeria’s states to cushion the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Economic Council (NEC) at its virtual meeting on Thursday, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, resolved that the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, with two other governors, meet with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Finance Minister and the Inspector General of Police to coordinate the proper utilization of the funding of the initiative

Attendance at the NEC virtual meeting with state governors, included the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT Mohammed Bello, CBN Governor, Godwin Emiefile, and some federal cabinet officials.

The NEC Ad-hoc Committee on Security and Policing made a presentation on its assignment to the Council noting that engagement with key stakeholders on the operationalization of community policing in the country was ongoing.

Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, who made the presentation said the committee, met on Thursday 4th of August to review the escalating security challenges in Nigeria.

He said the meeting reviewed the escalating challenges in the country observed that insecurity could not be fully eradicated without addressing the high poverty rate and unemployment level in Nigeria.

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the NEC, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, said, “Council resolved that the Chair of the NGF (Nigeria Governors’ Forum) with two other governors would be meeting with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Finance Minister and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to coordinate the proper utilisation of the funding of community policing in the states.

“The federal government has already approved N13 billion for this same purpose.”

He said the work of the Committee was ongoing with key stakeholders and would be meeting further as the need arises to update the Council on the progress being made to address insecurity and criminality in the country.

On the economic stimulus, he explained that it is part of the World Bank’s package for immediate fiscal relief for Nigeria, following discussion between its Country Director and the Economic Sustainability Committee, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The stimulus package, he said was contained in the report of the Ad-Hoc Committee of the National Economic Council, NEC, interfacing with Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 to ease the lockdown on the economy.

Governor Sule said 22 states signed the Grant Agreement, GA, while 13 were yet to return signed GAs.

The 22 states that signed GA were Ekiti, Gombe, Zamfara, Sokoto, Niger, Taraba, Oyo, Abia, Enugu, Plateau, Delta, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kwara, Cross-River, Imo, Yobe, Ondo, Osun, Nasarawa and Benue.

He said of the 22 states, the 16 states that had received N100,000,000 grant each, totalling N1.6 billion.

The states were Ekiti, Gombe, Niger, Sokoto, Taraba, Oyo, Abia, Enugu, Zamfara, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kwara, Cross-River, Imo and Delta.

The five states next on the list for the grant are Plateau, Yobe, Ondo, Benue and Osun, while Nassarawa State is yet to communicate account details.

Sule said the ad-hoc committee’s report also had the key highlights of the ongoing four weeks guidelines of the extended second 2nd Phase of the eased lockdown.

He said the task force revealed that the extension was necessitated due to observed lack of compliance with the prescribed measure, dangers associated with community transmission and the need to strengthen critical areas of the response strategy for effectiveness.

Sule said that the committee outlined some outstanding issues, including the resumption date for educational institutions, new protocols for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), resumption of work by all categories of public and civil servants and full reopening of contact sporting activities and recreational facilities.

He said the Director-General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, also briefed the Council of COVID-19 situation in the states.

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