Cablegate: Nigeria: Police-Community Workshops a Success

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. A series of eight workshops -- one for each of Lagos
State's police area commands -- brought representatives of
the various polcie units responsible for law and order in
Lagos together with community organizations and NGOs to
examine ways of managing conflict better and enhancing
police-community cooperation in addressing crime.

2. The initial inpetus behind this effort was Post's RNLEO
(INL) and this led to successful and new collaboration
between INL and USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives
(OTI) in engaging the police. Organized and funded quickly
(in just two weeks) by OTI as a precursor to a planned
INL-USAID Police Modernization program, these workshops
sought to aid the Lagos State Government in addressing a
continuing wave of violent crime in the nation's largest
city. Two NGO's -- the Center for Law Enforcement Education
in Nigeria (CLEEN) and the Conflict Resolution Stakeholders
Network (CRESNET) -- led the sessions with experienced
trainers and facilitators. While CLEEN regularly interacts
with the police, these workshops marked the first time
CRESNET had engaged the Police in conflict management

3. Attendees included conventional police, members of the
Rapid Response Squad (RRS, the creation of the Lagos Governor
to deal with violent crime and composed of both conventional
police and the Mobile Police--MOPOL), Neighborhood Watch
(another creation of the Lagos Governor), the Chairmen and
subordinate officials of Lagos' 20 Local Government Areas
(LGAs), members of Citizens Development Associations in these
20 LGAs, community groups and human rights NGOs.

4. Discussion sessions led by CRESNET and CLEEN trainers
included topics on: Sources of Conflict; Communications and
Active Listening Skills; Procedures and Management of Police
Complaints; Mediation Skills; Security Awareness and Warning
Signals; Joint Problem Solving; and the Role of the Media in
Conflict Management.

5. RNLEO and Lagos POLOFF attended part of the last workshop
and found a lively discussion underway among Police officers,
the CRESNET facilitators, and community representatives.
Issues like the perception of the Nigerian Police among
average citizens were being addressed. One of the workshop's
NGO facilitators noted that CRESNET had benefited greatly
from the series of workshops. The interaction with police
officers gave this conflict resolution NGO a better
appreciation for the challenges facing the Nigerian Police
Force as it attempts the transition from a force of
oppression under past military regimes to a force that serves
the Nigerian citizenry.

6. Comment: This was the first USG venture into promoting
greater cooperation between the police and communities.
Tangible results will be some time in coming but, thanks to
this OTI effort, the stage has been set for continued
dialogue among the various Lagos police units and community
organizations that in time will lead to greater community
trust in the police and, consequently, more effective


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