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Saturday, March 09, 2013

U.N.I.T.E- Police For The Masses

Police and policing in Nigeria are terms that evoke varying degrees of distrust and incredibility, depending on what side of the line you are standing.

Being a co-facilitator of the Adele Adeniji group of the You And I Teach Each Other (UNITE) program has given me the opportunity to know the Police better.

Some of the participants.

The program which kicked off for the first time on the 2nd of February at the Adele Adeniji police division had the DPO Mr Monday Agbonika, Ms. Oyinye and Ms. Erica, I and over 40 youths from the community in attendance.

The DPO, Mr Monday Agbonika sitting among the youths.

We started out by introducing ourselves and choosing adjective names, then we talked about the purpose of the meeting and common issues that affect us and the Police.

The DPO then spoke about the efforts of the division in crime fighting and how the youths can help the police do a better job. Some of the youths commended his efforts so far and asked him questions about the issue of Bail and unlawful detention.

The DPO answering questions from the youths.

Other laudable work the Adeniji Adele police division is doing under the direction of the DPO is its approach towards rape cases. Whereas most victims have reported police brutality and being 'interrogated' despite being the victims in most police stations, Mr Mathew is collaborating with NGOs that provides voluntary counselling and rehabilitation services to the victims. He has also organised periodical training for his officers on the importance of confidentiality. He has set aside trained personnel to handle rape and sexual abuse cases in an enclosed part of the Police station. This shows respect and sensitivity towards the victim because so much effort is being put towards rehabilitating and re-integrating her into the society.

In his closing remarks, he spoke on the issue of public crowding. His words left an impression in my mind because they were the truth. He said that youths should fault their parents who sold every piece of land they owned including those that ought to serve as public parks and recreational centres thereby leaving youths with no choice but to hang around uncompleted buildings and because of his view on this, he has stopped the random police raid on the youths in his division.

I haven't visited many police stations, maybe for good reason but believe me when I say that the police are our friends and they are first there to protect and serve everyone under their purview! Good job Mr Mathew Agbonika. I hope other police chiefs borrow a leaf from you.

It is worthy of note to mention too that the Police division served all present with refreshments.

From Left: Ms Onyiye Oyeamobi, Ms Erica Litch, DSP Monday Agbonika and Vweta  Ariemugbovbe.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Am Back!

Hello everyone! It’s so good to be back. I apologize for not updating this space earlier, there has been a lot going on in my professional life.

First, the Illegal Migration Awareness Project (IMAP) talent hunt and youth concert which held on 26th January at the Aquatic water parks, Ikeja Lagos required my attention in its planning and execution stages.

With Blessing Ashi, During the Campaign.

With some of the students who participated in the events of the day.

I am glad to inform you that it was a huge success as young talented Nigerian youths- in and out of school got a chance to showcase their talents. Some popular figures from the Nigerian movie and music industry like Charlse Okafor, Benedict Johnson and MI were in attendance to thrill their fans.

I have just become a facilitator for "You And I Teach Each Other (UNITE)," a community based program aimed at bridging the gap between the criminal justice system, the youths and nature. This program enables me bring the knowledge I acquired from my basic Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) facilitators training into more practice.

We have sessions every Wednesday at the Ogudu Secondary School in Ojota and once every month at the Adele Adeniji Police station located on the Lagos Island. Other facilitators include Erica Licht and Onyiye Oyemobi.

I had to make necessary arrangements to ensure the success of my first public lecture on Teen pregnancy, Illiteracy and education based inequality and school drop-out among the teenage women living in the Ajegunle area of Lagos.

The lecture tagged: Women; the Future! Held on the 1st of March at the Anglican Church premises in Ajegunle.

Lastly, it gladdens my heart to share this good news with you. I have recently been accepted into the Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative for the 2013 - 2014 sessions! And because of my keen interest in contributing to a society where all are equal, I will be working on projects promoting civil liberties.

Not to worry, I will be posting articles about my work as things unfold.

Watch this space!