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Community Vigilantes in Metropolitan Kano 1985-2005

Rasheed Olaniyi

4. Vigilante Groups and the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) Sabongari, Kano

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4.1 The Origin of Security Dilemma in Sabongari

1For the merchants’ enclaves such as Sabongari, the value of security to commercial enterprise became imperative. Sabongari is an urban arena where many processes including ethnic relations and commercial transaction simultaneously impinge on security. During riots, vigilante groups police the neighbourhoods, barricade all entrances to Sabongari and mobilise the community against the incursion of intruders. In the peace period, vigilante groups provided security and crime control mechanisms against armed bandits and other hoodlums.

2The establishment of the Sabongari system was a central thrust of the British divide and rule policy constructed to make colonial rule flourish on ethnic divisions, the creation and re-creation of identities and enforcement of segregation (Olaniyi 2003: 227). The dichotomy in the realm of culture and rights was completed with spatial division, the segregation of the two social groups (hosts and immigrants) in different areas of the city. It was within the contradiction of this duality that security dilemma was produced.

3In 1913, Sabongari was established as a non-European Reservation within the Township Area specifically for Southern Nigerian migrants composed of the British army (veterans of West African Frontier Force) and African employees in European firms and administration. Between 1913 and 1918, approximately 320 plots were carved out and developed to accommodate immigrant groups (A. Bako, 2000: 62). Sabongari was chiefly administered to the requirements of the European community. By 1917, Sabongari was constituted under the Township Ordinance into the Second Class Township of Kano, second to the Government Reservation Area and not to the Kano city, which it superseded within the British arrangement (M.M. Tukur, 1990: 141). Simultaneously, the Township Area comprising Europeans and Non-natives was severed from the Kano Divisional Administration and placed under an officer who dischargmd functions analogous to those of Cantonment Magistrate and who was directly responsible to the resident. Sabongari was therefore granted autonomy in the Emirate system apparently for tax and fiscal purposes. Taxes paid by Sabongari residents and European employees of the British directly went to the colonial treasury rather than the Kano Native Authority.

4The residential segregation between the migrants and the host communities planted the seed of xenophobia, contempt and communal conflicts. Equally, the British policy of laisser faire placed the bulk of security provisioning on the community and subsequently on the Native Authority (N.A.). Through several policy shifts government expenditure on police was drastically reduced. In a cosmopolitan community, this created a fertile ground for crime and criminals. In its formative stage, Sabongari, its security, market and land tenure administration were placed under the Township Administration outside the N.A. headed by the Emir.

5By the end of July 1915, cases of serious crimes had been recorded in Sabongari (M.M. Tukur, 1990: 144-145). The settlement had attracted considerable influx of criminal elements both males and females. This was allegedly attributed to the freedom they enjoyed from the restraints and discipline of organised native society and the comparative leniency of the British law. The government police, however, exhibited levity in combating crime in the Township areas particularly Sabongari.

6To deal with the deteriorating situation, the British created institutions and made policy shifts that incorporated the community and the N.A. in security provisioning. In 1932, a seemingly autonomous administrative structure was set up in Sabongari for the collection of taxes and maintaining of law and order. The British established the Office of Sarkin Sabongari (Executive Head) with an unelected council made up of representatives from the diverse ethnic groups occupying the settlement. Equally, a Mixed Court was established to adjudicate civil and criminal cases among the diverse communities. The first Executive Head and President of the Sabongari Mixed Court was Mr. G.E. France, a retired clerk from the defunct Gold Coast. After his death in 1938, he was succeeded by Mr. TP Barllatt-Huges a professional photographer from Sierra-Leone. By 1956, the Mixed Court dealt with an average of 2,000 criminal cases per year. Between November 1955 and March 31st 1956, the court dealt with 1,112 criminal cases.

7There was however, an anomaly in the administration of criminal law in the British created Mixed Courts. By the Native Courts Amendment Ordinances, Mixed Courts were deprived of almost all their powers of administration of the Criminal Code and were consequently thrown back upon Native law and custom vested in the Alkalin Waje. The Sabongari Mixed Court was transformed into Native Court Grade B and its warrant provided that appeals from it would recline to the High Court. These controversies and policy inconsistencies coupled with corruption had weakened its capacity to deal with criminal cases.

8Property crime, as business was carried out by gangs of armed bandits made up of migrants of Southern and Northern Nigerian origins. The major rendez vous for the criminal gangs were bars, off licenses, hotels, cinema halls and clubs in Sabongari. These criminals and their patrons were frequently arrested by the joint N.A. and Nigeria Police Suspect Squad which, in view of the corrupt practices which these criminals employed to keep out of trouble, maintained a very high standard of integrity. Criminals were let off with light fines or bail and their cases “put on ice.”

9During the Second World War, the British made a major policy shift in the administration of Sabongari to expend resources (human and material) on the war efforts. Equally, the security lapses in Sabongari had forced the British to compromise the theory that the Native Authority should be aloof in the administration of Sabongari. In April 1940, Sabongari administration was transferred to the Kano Native Authority under the control of Wakilin Waje. The British conceded to seek the assistance of the Kano N.A. to administer Sabongari against the rising wave of crime.

10As the colonial government was determined to regulate security in Sabongari, a special grant was made to N.A. Police (Yan Gadi) for the additional responsibility of extending its services beyond Kano city and Fagge. A sum of £30 was paid per Yan Gadi in a year as against £45 spent on each Constable per year in the British controlled police (Chiranci, 1998:126).

11Despite the administrative restructuring in controlling crime, the changes only exacerbated ethnic tension and insecurity in Sabongari. Sabongari community considered the colonial policy shifts as incorporation into the Indirect Rule system of the N.A. and thus, despised the N.A. police as agents of exploitation.

12In May 1953, local grievances reinforced by political differences degenerated into violence that the combination of Nigerian Police and Yan Gadi could not easily control. A total of 169 men with 35 in immediate reserve of the Nigeria Police were dispersed to provide security in Sabongari. An additional 365 men of the N.A. Police were deployed to Sabongari (Report on the Kano Disturbances 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th May 1953). Despite the security provided by the Nigeria Police Force and the N.A. Police, the situation became deteriorating. The security situation was aggravated by stock pilling of arms by Sabongari community, the looting and killings by both Hausa and Sabongari communities, the spread of rumours, and the attacks on N.A. Police in Sabongari.

13The Police were overwhelmed by these factors. First, it was alleged that Leventis Stores had sold 172 machetes to southerners on Friday 15th May, 1953. There had equally been a considerable theft of scarf iron and the United African Company (U.A.C.) motor department had reported that down overnight by being used for sharpening machetes and scrap irons (Report on Kano Disturbances: 8-9). The Senior District officer equally reported that the Igbo Union had asked for protection against the influx of northerners into Kano from nearby villages, many of them carrying weapons. The N.A. Police were attacked in Sabongari (Report on Kano Disturbances: 11). The southerners in Sabongari were armed and they demonstrated against attacks.

14The Senior Superintendent of Police sent to the Commissioner of Police, in Kaduna, and asked for two units of the Nigerian Police Force to Kano as reinforcements. In Sabongari, groups of southern immigrants were armed with matchets knives and crow bars. In Fagge, groups of northerners were armed with sticks, bows and arrows (Reports on Kano Disturbances: 12).

15Despite the deployment of additional Police from Kaduna, the violence continued unabated. Two police units and two companies of the 4th Battalion, Nigeria Regiment were further deployed to Sabongari. The Army units took over strategic locations in Kano. The Sabongari Charge Office which was Advance Headquarters for those engaged, was taken over by a platoon of Military forces. Mr. Thorn, Assistant District officer was able for the first time to make formal contact with community leaders in Sabongari. He urged the community leaders to get control over the armed bandits in their domain.

16There were widespread rumours that Hausa had been killed in Sabongari and that Igbo were attacked and killed in Fagge area. The security situation was heightened. A total of £10,668 estimated property were looted and destroyed. A total of fifteen northerners and twenty-one southerners were killed; 163 northerners, seventy-one southerners and seven Police were wounded (Report on Kano Disturbances: 21). After the May Riots, 120 people were arrested and charged with Rioting or Unlawful possession out of which sixty-two were convicted and sentenced from one to four months imprisonments (Annual Report: N.A. Police 1953). The riot cases heard by Magistrate were as follows:

Table 4.1: Riot Cases in Kano, 1953

Table 4.1: Riot Cases in Kano, 1953

Source: (Report on Kano Disturbances: 12)

Table 4. 2: Crime Summary: 1st December 1952- November 1953.

Table 4. 2: Crime Summary: 1st December 1952- November 1953.

Source: KanoProf: CPL/Mal./8328/S.I.

17The N.A. Police were violently attacked in Sabongari on the allege cases of negligence leading to looting. However, the N.A. Police were under-resourced. While each of the Nigerian Police Anti-Riot Unit of 50 men was led by an Officer; the entire Kano N.A. Police force, of whom over 350 men became engaged, had one Officer. The N.A. Police were armed with batons engaging armed rioters. The N.A. Police also had a three ton lorry, a six ton lorry, a Land Rover and a Kitcar. There were Special Constables; 116 British, ten Greeks and four French. Two thirds of the total was available for patrols and escorts (Reports on Kano Disturbances p. 25).

18In spite of the crimes and conflicts perpetrated in the host and migrant communities, there were instances of protection. Some Hausa were protected in Sabongari while some Igbo were protected in Fagge quarters. The insecurity in Sabongari led to the placement of the community under the control of the Nigeria Police from 24th May 1953 to 30th September 1953 (Kano Prof: CPL/Mal: 8328/S.1.). During this period, there were fifty-three policemen in Sabongari. About 3,841 cases covering all types of crime were reported out of which 3,232 were successfully prosecuted. The value of properties stolen was £24295:12; while properties worth £2125:9:3 were recovered.

19The general increase in the crimes reported was due to the trust that the Sabongari community had in the Nigerian Police as opposed to the N.A. Police whom they detest and mistrust.

20Indeed, the administrative restructuring could not stem the tide of soaring crime in Sabongari. Most entrepreneurs employed private guards (Maigadi) largely recruited from among the Ba’are ethnic group of Niger Republic. Sabongari community patronised the Buzu guards due to their possession of traditional medicine against armed robbers, their perceived immunity against gunshots and sword attacks. They equally had the ability to provide security from dusk to dawn using their narcotic tea and protective charms. As foreigners, they do not mingle with anyone and were trusted from collaborating with criminals. They were armed with swords, knives, horse whips and charms. They were paid on weekly basis. By the middle of 1980s, their patronage declined in Sabongari. First, most of them were victims of attacks by Sabongari residents during religious riots. Second, most of them were attacked by armed bandits. Third, most of them migrated with their families, and without homes could not function effectively. Fourth, most were seasonal migrants, who often returned to Niger Republic during the raining season for farming purposes. These problems of constant replacement of security guards created security dilemma. The few Buzu guards that remained were employed to guard shops.

21Following the decline in the patronage of Buzu guards was the rise of private security companies. About twenty security companies now provide services in metropolitan Kano. Some of these companies are patronised in Sabongari by entrepreneurs and religious institutions.

22From 1953, Sabongari community zealously carried out voluntary security services that protected neighborhoods and residents against crime and violence. Between 1976 and 2001, many communal security and conflict management outfits including Sabongari Development Association and Sabongari Elders Forum were initiated when police capacity in curtailing crime had declined. Other security measures included: the formation of community based multi-ethnic security networks, police community relations, formation of the National Integration Forum, Yoruba Community Council Northern States, establishment of Vigilante groups, advocacy programmes, dialogue and courtesy visits to the leaders of the host community, inter-faith joint prayers and welfare programmes.

4.2: Police and Policing in Sabongari

23Like other urban settlements in Nigeria, police in Sabongari are grossly under resourced to cope with rising crime and unabated urban conflicts. There is only one Police Divisional Headquarters in Nomansland adjoining Sabongari, under which Sabongari market Police Outpost is located. The number of police in both stations is inadequate but they often receive support from Civil Defense Corps and Special Constabulary Force. Police patrolling Sabongari at night were often less than thirty compared to the number of streets, which is up to eighty. Indeed, police could only effectively guide up to ten bits (streets) with three police per street. It was alleged that police often abdicate their bits by 12:00 mid night leaving the community to attacks by hoodlums and criminals. Other police lapses in Sabongari include:

  1. Arresting innocent residents and extortion of money;

  2. Not responding to distress calls;

  3. Releasing crime suspects without proper investigation;

  4. Not complementing the activities of vigilante groups; and

  5. Extra-judicial killings during ethno-religious riots.

4.3: Vigilante and Crime Control in Sabongari

24Following the waning public confidence in the police, many people have turned to self-help safety measures for protection against crime. The most obvious is the private security industry, which continues to grow in Nigeria. But for those who cannot afford to pay for these services, vigilantism has become a viable option.

25Communities and social groups relied on private and voluntary networks that prevent crime, defend homes, neighourhoods and properties. Vigilante groups and other informal security outfits frequently operate independent from the police but in a large measure compliment police roles in combating crime and maintaining peace. In Sabongari, incessant ethno-secretarian riots influenced the formation of vigilante groups. The formation of vigilante became imperative following the identification of a common problem that could only be effectively exterminated by coordinated communal strategy.

26Interviews with Sabongari residents indicate that vigilante groups were established on ad hoc basis when crime, particularly armed robbery, was on the increase from the middle of the 1980s. Equally, with the growing inefficiency of the police to curb rising crime, residents of Sabongari neighbourhools began to form security committees. Vigilante groups were recruited from resident members of the neighbourhoods. Each house presents at least two men per night. This was often done in rotation among male members of the houses. About fifteen men guard the street from 12:00 midnight until 5:30 am. They are often armed with sticks, cutlasses, clubs and whizzes.

27Vigilante in Sabongari is organised on street basis. While the efficiency of vigilante groups could ward off criminals or reduce crime in one area, unprotected areas without vigilante services experience rising wave of crime. During the hours of vigilante operation, the roads leading to the street would be barricaded to prevent the movement of people and vehicles. Those who violate the movement rules were quizzed on their identity. Criminal suspects were handed over to the police for further interrogation. Police night patrol, although largely unappreciable, has reinforced the activities of vigilante groups. Police patrol often boosts the morale of vigilante groups for crime control.

4.4: Gated Neighbourhoods

28Neighbourhood networks provided street security gates and organised rotatory vigilante groups through funds contributed by the residents. In providing collective security, the vigilante groups succeeded in some areas to stem the tide of crime perpetrated by hoodlums. Nearly all the ethnic associations in Sabongari had youth wings that could be deployed as security outfit in communal defense and crime control. For example, the Yoruba Community established Conflict Management Committee that coordinated vigilante activities among others.

29Efforts were made to provide security gates in the early 1990s as reports of car thefts and unrestricted movement of criminal gangs soared. Some streets such as Aba Road, Stadium Road, Emir Road, Onitsha Road, erected gates on both entrances into the streets. In 1990, it costs Aba Road almost N30,000.00 to provide security gates. The gates were under the control of the vigilante group. It closed to outsiders from 12 midnight to 6:00 am but opened to residents and police on patrol. The gates were primarily to ease the security duties of the vigilante groups.

30Unfortunately, most of the gates were neglected whenever criminal activities reduced. Therefore, only few gates are still operational in Sabongari. Being a voluntary service, vigilante groups in Sabongari experience complex problems of funding, misappropriation of funds, inadequate workforce, poor coordination and leadership tussle, insufficient cooperation or participation, irregular payment of security levies, corruption and harassment by the police, lack of continuity, security risks and attacks by armed bandits.

31Informants claimed that some young men declined to participate in vigilante activities on the basis that it affects their work. Others, particularly women, claim that misappropriation of fund in the past discouraged them from remitting their levies. In some streets, however, these problems have been rectified through the employment of private security guards. In Aba Road, the security committee coordinating the vigilante employed three retired soldiers from the Nigerian Legion. In 2002, they were paid N2,500.00 each per month. Each building contributed N200.00, N100.00 per Church/Mosque and N50.00 per shop for the non-resident owners. A task-force in collaboration with police enforces payment. Defaulters were arrested and fined N300.00 after paying their arrears. Maxguards Security Company was equally employed but residents preferred people who reside in the specific neighbourhoods and are being paid N3, 000.00 per month. Household heads were encouraged or mandated to own whizzes to alert neighbours in the case of emergency.

32Landlords were encouraged to provide entrance gates to their buildings, construct and increase the height of their fences, and to screen prospective tenants before houses are let to them. Community leaders were encouraged to report criminal suspects living in their midst. All these security measures were to support the activities of the private security guards and vigilante groups.

4. 5: Best Practice of Vigidante in Sabongari

  1. Volunteerism;

  2. Enhance citizen participation and inclusion in community development and policy making;

  3. Establish culture of crime prevention;

  4. Partnership between community and police enable prevention and ultimately reduce violence, crime and insecurity; and

  5. Addressing urban crime and violence is an exercise of good governance, which takes root from the development of social solidarity networks, community consultation processes, and institutional reform.

4.6: Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), Sabongari, Kano

33Despite the proliferation of vigilante groups and private security companies, the rate of armed robberies has increased considerably. The Non-Indigenes Community Leaders Association (NICOLA), Sabongari, revamped the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) for crime control.

34Policing networks has become cogently imperative as criminal networks adopt more sophisticated methods and weapons. Equally, it became crucial for the police to form inter-linked cooperation with the public. Bethel Uweru, states that: conception of the police role is fundamentally different from that held by policemen. It also emphasizes a need to revalue policing methods to ensure(that we try to serve the ends that communities desire. If we don’t do so, we are certainly in danger of forfeiting their support and cooperation (D.M. Jemibewon, 2002: 37).

35The PCRC represents the policy shift in policing and crime prevention that was initiated in the mid-1980s following the increase in the rate of crime. The central idea of the PCRC was to redeem the image and improve public relations of the police by establishing a link between the police and the community within which they operate. It was considered that a cordial relationship between the police and its community of operation would improve the process of policing (CLEEN and NHRC, 1999:40). Waring described community policing as a “necessary partnership between the community and the police forged to ensure that the justice system continues to operate effectively in maintaining community standards of behaviour.” In Nigeria, the PCRC was launched in 1985 to elicit sustained public support through the unhindered supply of relevant information on suspected criminals and criminal networks for investigative policing.

36The PCRC initiative was prompted by the search for a new identity by the police to redefine its public relations priorities and strategies. It was created to invoke “consensus policing,” in crime control with the support of the community. Bayley (1988) outlines four basic elements of community policing:

  • Community based crime prevention;

  • Proactive servicing as opposed to emergency response;

  • Shifting of command responsibility to lower rank levels; and

  • Participation in the planning and supervision of police operations.

37Under the Inspector-General of Police, Etim Inyang, the PCRC was established in all Zonal and State Commands, Area Commands and Divisions throughout the urban and rural areas of Nigeria (Tamuno, 2003: 135). The main objective is to enhance police operational efficiency through gaining easy access to information and assistance from vigilante groups. The main objectives for establishing PCRC include the following:

  1. To promote acceptance of the police by the community;

  2. To promote reliability and trust dispelling the different misconception of or in the community;

  3. To create understanding and cooperation between police and the public;

  4. To provide avenue through which the citizens can suggest improvement in police service;

  5. To acquaint the public with professional operations and police activities;

  6. To acquaint police officers with the citizens they protect and also consider ideas of these citizens in police matters; and

  7. To assist in crime prevention by distribution of information on crime deterrence.

38The duties of Police Community Relations Committees include among others:

  1. To discuss crime wave and other security matters within their areas;

  2. To screen all local guards including vigilante groups operating in their areas;

  3. To control and supervise guards in their communities;

  4. To report all acts of misconduct by policemen;

  5. To report presence of suspicious characters in the community to the police;

  6. To report known criminals, those who harbour them, and receivers of stolen property to the police

  7. To recommend good members the community to the police authorities for employment when occasion demands it.

39The membership of the PCRC at various levels is drawn from responsible members of the community such as Traditional Rulers, Imams, Pastors, Journalists, Lawyers, Student Unions, Road Transport Workers, Court Judges, Medical Doctors (The Nigerian Police 2003). The establishment of PCRC is yet to move the Police and its personnel closer to the society but it had also tremendously improved its efficiency, especially in the area of information gathering on criminals, which often leads to their arrest.

40The PCRC democratised and encouraged citizens’ participation in policing (Reisig and Parks, 2004: 142). According to the former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Coomasie,

We owe it a duty to ourselves to repudiate the bad image of the police, improve the lots of our country and save the future of our children. The clear manifestation of indiscipline, corruption, general anarchy, nepotism and unbridled violations of legal laws in our society has made it abundantly necessary for us to mobilise our collective sense of justice, to fight all social ills militating against the realisation of social justice (Fejokwu, 1996:53-54).

41The PCRC Sabongari was established in 1987 by ethnic communities (including Igbo, Yoruba, Igala, Ebira and Edo) occupying the area to improve the public perception of police and support its role in policing against crime (Interview with Prince Ajayi Memaiyetan, November 2004). The primary activities of the PCRC include discussions and strategies on how to combat crime, reporting of any act of impropriety by the police, control and supervision of private security guards in cooperation with the police. Its aims and objectives include:

  1. To interact sufficiently with members of the community in order to generate understanding and confidence and bridge the gap of credibility between the Police and the community;

  2. To discuss freely police and public relations with a view to improving the image of the police force;

  3. To deliberately involve members of various committees in the effective policing of their areas;

  4. To discuss and find ways of minimising crime and other matters of security concern and subsequently find solutions to problems that may arise from time to time;

  5. To provide a forum through which members of the public and the police can discuss how to arrange and supervise Community Volunteer Corps or Vigilante Groups;

  6. To effectively utilise private security guards to achieve the PCRC goals after thorough screening by the police;

  7. To form any Intelligence network that may be used to reduce and dislodge criminals;

  8. To scout for any recruitable persons into the Constabulary cadres of the Police and finally reassure the local community of the over-all need to encourage their sons and daughters to seek meaningful careers in the Police;

  9. To establish and maintain a good relationship with well-meaning citizens and to persuade the fence-sitters by effectively communicating with them; and

    • 1 Police Community Relations Committee Sabon-Gari, Kano Programme of Events foe the Launching of its (...)

    To educate the public on the need to cooperate with the Police by coming forward freely with information on criminals and criminal activities without fear or favour.1

42In the early 1990s, the activities of PCRC in Sabongari gathered more momentum when Chief J. Egbe, a retired scribe of the Waje Native Authority, became the first coordinator (Interview with Prince Ajayi Memaiyetan, November 2004). In 1991, the late Barrister Phillip A. Oge, became the first elected Chairman of the PCRC, Sabongari. The Executive Council and Ex-officios were made up of representatives of the centralised ethnic associations in Sabongari. The traditional heads of the Yoruba community, Kano, Alhaji Abdullahi Salihu Olowo and Barrister O.T Nnadi, the Eze of Ndi Igbo Kano, were patrons. The first PCRC administration in Sabongari carried out general renovation of the Sabongari police station, provision of stationery, repairs of patrol vehicles and formation of vigilante groups in many streets of Sabongari.

43In 1993, under the Chairmanship of Dr. Jimpat Aiyelangbe, a fund raising ceremony was organised to support the police operations. The exit of the Aiyelangbe led PCRC saw the nomination of Chief Alhaji Abubakar Isedu (now the Enojie of Edo community, Kano State) as Chairman of PCRC.

44Part of the rationale for the PCRC in Sabongari lies not in the efficacy of such initiative in reducing the incidence of crime but to confer a sense of identity, control of crime and security, on a community dominated by immigrant communities within the wider context of the Kano society. This is to dispel the sense of fear, insecurity and concern about crime.

45By 1995, PCRC witnessed a period of near collapse as a result of non-attendance of meetings by members and the surging wave of crimes particularly robberies in Sabongari streets which its fragile capacity could not combat.

46In order to reverse this trend of insecurity, PCRC was revived by the Non-Indigenes Community Leaders Association (NICOLA) in Sabongari (Olaniyi, 2003: 24-26). The revival committee included representatives from ethnic communities inhabiting Sabongari. In 2001, PCRC had an average of five representatives from each of the ethnic groups resident in Sabongari.

47In many parts of Nigeria, the PCRC provided funds to support police efforts in crime prevention and control. In March 1998, for example, the FESTAC PCRC, Lagos, launched a N10 million fund-raising campaign to assist the police in the area with patrol vehicles, motorcycles and walkie-talkies (CLEEN and NHRC, 1999: 40).

48In 2002, a committee was set up under the PCRC to coordinate vigilante activities. Sabongari was divided into 22 Zones each under a Zonal Commander. Sabongari community were mandated to contribute fund towards the sustainance of the coordinated vigilante system as follows:

Table 4.3: Sabongari Area Monthly Levy

Table 4.3: Sabongari Area Monthly Levy

Source: PCRC, Sabongari, Kano, 2002.

  • 2 “Sabongari PCRC Spends N200,000.00 on Police Vehicles,” in Civil Society, January 2004, p. 8 and “S (...)

49In October 2003, PCRC launched a N15 million Security and Vigilante Development Appeal Fund in order to support vigilante groups, police operations and logistics in Sabongari. A sum of N500,000.00 was raised from the Appeal Fund which was used to repair police vehiclms and support its logistics for night patrols in Sabongari. In December, 2003, N200,000.00 was spent repairing police patrol vehicles.2 The repair of the police patrol vehicles was the major project after the launch of the Security Vigilante Development Fund to curb the soaring rates of crime. Periodically, the PCRC often encouraged Sabongari residents to be vigilant and security conscious by reporting any undesirable persons to the Police.

  • 3 Habiba Adamu, ‘Kano Plans Police-Community Relations Committee,’ in Daily Trust, March 11th, 2004, (...)

50The PCRC coordinated vigilante activities in Sabongari and collected security fees from residents. The success of the Sabongari PCRC stimulated the Kano State police command to establish the Kano State PCRC to coordinate the activities at local government levels. This was to ensure, “effective grassroots policing to curb crimes.”3 In order to achieve this, patrol vehicles were stationed at strategic locations to ensure effective police response to distress calls.

51The formation and indeed, the revival of PCRC facilitated sustained relationship between Sabongari community and the Police on security issues. Through courtesy calls and meetings, the PCRC has been able to understand the security dilemma in Sabongari and how to curb it. The Yoruba community has been very important in this enterprise. From the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police Musiliu Smith, (former Inspector General (IG) of Police), AIG Alhaji Tafa Balogun (former IG of Police) and AIG Fatai Fagbemi the Yoruba community has strengthened cordial relations with police using ethnicity.

52Based on the social interaction between Sabongari commu-nity with the Police, the Kano State Police Command adopted the approach of community policing by improving on the PCRC mandate. According to CP Sir Kieran Zathan Dudari;

We (Police) are not at war but friendly with community based policing through constant communication, we (Police) have been able to reduce tension (Civil Society, 2003:1).

53With the support of vigilante groups and the PCRC, a total of 142 armed robbery suspects were arrested between January and December 2004, by the police in Kano State; thirty-nine were killed while exchanging fire with the police; seventy-eight were charged in court; twenty-five are still under police custody; and police recovered 146 different types of guns, one bullet proof jacket and over 2,889 ammunition of different types from suspects during operations. 148 criminals suspected of being ‘Yandaba,’ were arrested and prosecuted. In total, police seized 204 cutlasses, seven axes, four daggers, sixty-five swords, ninety-two sticks and nine cutters.

54In sum, community policing and indeed, PCRC, is working in a proactive partnership with citizens to identify and solve security problems. PCRC has enhanced police-vigilante cohabitation. The contradiction in PCRC could, however, be located in the pathological fixation of police on corruption, which alienated and depressed the public from providing valuable information for crime control.

4.7: Tarauni Police-Community Partnership Forum, (TPCPF)

55The Police-Community Partnership Forum, Tarauni was organised in the peri-urban area at the instance of CLEEN in December 2003 (Discussions with Baba Daud, February 2005). The aim of the Forum was to facilitate a protocol through which the police could be made accountable to the community and to ascertain policing priorities and crime prevention. The TPCPF brought together major stakeholders of security in the area including: community based organisations, traditional authorities, elected officials of the local government, vigilante groups, and the police. The TPCPF has eleven members on the Executive Committee.

56The TPCPF enabled the residents to review the existing relationship between the community and the police. It galvanised the activities of the vigilante groups who carried out patrols in conjunction with the police and thereby reduced crime in the peri-urban azea. TPKPN encouraged full participation of citizens in crime control, reduced the high rate of juvenile delinquency and thus lessened the burden of crime control on the police. In the last two years, however, TPCPF could not be sustained due to the crisis in the coordinating NGO, Community Action for Popular Participation (CAPP) office in Kano. Nevertheless, the community used the platform of TPCPF to strengthen their vigilante activities and informal security network.


1 Police Community Relations Committee Sabon-Gari, Kano Programme of Events foe the Launching of its N15million Security Vigilante Development Appeal Fund, 18th October, 2003 p. 2.

2 “Sabongari PCRC Spends N200,000.00 on Police Vehicles,” in Civil Society, January 2004, p. 8 and “Sabongari PCRC Becomes Role Model,” in Civil Society, February 2004, p. 8.

3 Habiba Adamu, ‘Kano Plans Police-Community Relations Committee,’ in Daily Trust, March 11th, 2004, p. 51 and “Sabongari PCRC Becomes Role Model,” in Civil Society Community Newsletter/ NGOs, No. 22, Februay 2004, p. 8.

Table des illustrations

Titre Table 4.1: Riot Cases in Kano, 1953
Légende Source: (Report on Kano Disturbances: 12)
Fichier image/jpeg, 60k
Titre Table 4. 2: Crime Summary: 1st December 1952- November 1953.
Légende Source: KanoProf: CPL/Mal./8328/S.I.
Fichier image/jpeg, 40k
Titre Table 4.3: Sabongari Area Monthly Levy
Fichier image/jpeg, 96k
Légende Source: PCRC, Sabongari, Kano, 2002.
Fichier image/jpeg, 115k

© IFRA-Nigeria, 2005

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