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‘Let’s use African culture to address security challenges’

‘Let’s use African culture to address security challenges’

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Dr Arase established that the concept of the community-based policing is a product of the African culture that had been in practice in local communities

Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin

A former Inspector General of Police, Dr Solomon E. Arase, has said that the complexities of insecurity in the country could be addressed if Nigerians embraces African culture and values.

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The former Police boss made this submission in an address at the 2nd Joint International Conference organised by the Faculty of Arts, University of Ilorin, and the African Studies Institute, University of Georgia, Athens, USA, which was held at the University Auditorium, themed “Globalisation, Security, Governance and Culture in Africa”.

Dr Arase, who was the chairman of the occasion, also explained that technology, postmodernism as well as globalisation “have altered the internal security equation.”

Pointing out that the dynamics of security has always been driven by technological advancement as well as cultural evolution, along with its attendant ‘culture conflicts’, the former Police boss noted that both have combined to redefine the concept and practice of security while placing additional responsibilities on governance.

He said: “Globalisation has impacted negatively on our cultural values as much as it has altered the complexities in crime, security and governance. Conversely, however, globalisation and African cultural values also present opportunities that could be drawn upon to strengthen security and governance. The challenge lies in finding the right balance between our threatened cultural practices and postmodernism towards addressing the challenge of globalisation, governance and the security question.”

Citing various scholars, Dr Arase established that the concept of the community-based policing, which is closely interlinked with social and religious structures, is a product of the African culture that had been in practice in local communities long before the advent of colonialism, and was highly effective in maintaining law and order largely without the use of violence.

He said, “Community-based policing and social control architecture was woven round the traditional institutions and customs and were visible among the Yorubas in the South West and the Hausas in the northern part of Nigeria,” pointing out that “these traditional, community policing practices varied in orientation and implementation, and were known to share the modern principles associated with community policing as being advanced by the Western world just as they were very effective in enabling the pre-colonial Nigerian societies in security governance”.

Declaring the Conference open earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Mrs. Sylvia Malomo, spoke on the importance of culture while also stressing the benefits of collaboration with national and international institutions.

The Keynote Speaker, Prof. Jean Ngoya Kidula of the Institute of African Studies, University of Georgia, Athens, USA, who spoke on ‘The Labour of the Arts’, noted that arts can become a metaphor for other social issues of life not unlimited to expressing our angst, resolving our conflicts, identifying crisis in security as well as lack of good governance.

Prof. Abel Fakuade of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ilorin, who was the Lead Paper presenter at the Conference spoke on “Cultural Globalisation in Africa, A curse or a Blessing: The Nigerian example”.

In his remarks, the Supervisor of the Unilorin/UGA MoU, Prof. Simon Aderibigbe, spoke on the current state of the MoU in terms of collaboration in publishing of academic works and joint conferences and Faculty exchanges. He disclosed that by 2019, “the colleagues from the University of Ilorin will be joining us in a Joint Conference at the University of Georgia”, just as he further noted that the MoU was not limited to the Faculty of Arts alone but must involve other Faculties and across all disciplines within the University of Ilorin.

Earlier, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Ilorin, Prof. Mrs. Oyeronke Olademo, expressed delight with the quality of the gathering, saying “this occasion is one that confirms that it is good to collaborate”.

The Conference was well attended by members of law enforcement agencies, traditional rulers in Kwara State, staff and students of the University of Ilorin as well as other academics from within and outside Nigeria.

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