Following the upsurge of insecurity and decline of security in Nigeria,the argument on state police has come to the fore. This issue has continued to generate a lot of debate with some standing in support and the rest against its creation.This argument is based on the practice of federalism in the Nigeria.
Prominent among those championing this course is the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) which claimed that the security of the state is porous thereby enhancing criminality and therefore the need for the creation of the state police forces to help combat the ugly trend of crime in their respective states. Apparently, two events recently occurred in the country putting a big question mark on the security of lives and properties in the country.This therefore reawakened this call.This undoubtedly are; the Boko Haram insurgency in the northern parts of the country and the increase in kidnappings in the southern states of Nigeria.
The 1999 constitution places the task of policing of the entire country on the shoulders of the federal government.This particular provision is contrary to the thinking of those clamouring for state forces creation.According to those in support of this topic,the policing of the citizens of the country should be the duty of the various states and not the federal government.Their argument is based on the indisputable fact that in the USA, the federal government own the Federa Bureau of Investigation(FBI), then the police forces or departments are owned by the states and the municipal authorities.
It is very natural for one to argue that following the killings in Jos, terrorists attack in the states of the north,wide spate of kidnapping in the southern parts,states having control of their own police forces could help fight this ugly trend but the big question is whether these and other reasons are justification for the creation of state police forces in the country? Even if they justify such, is this the right time considering the situation of the nation at the present? My take on this is that we need to tread very carefully before advocating for state police forces.
According to the Chairman,Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Amechi, ‘On state police we stand’’arguing that creation of state police remains the only panacea to the lingering insecurity imbroglio the country is presently experiencing.
Experience has shown that our governors are not sincere and care less about the masses as seen in their corruption driven programmes.The creation of state police will only help the governors to ‘bulldoze’ any one considered as opposition.This happened in Anambra state during the erea of Bakassi boys where the then governor used them to intimidate,maim and fight his political opponents. Moreso, history has it that when the police were under regional governors in the 50s, they were abused by the political class who used them to intimidate, oppress and coerse the poor masses. Many including my very self are afraid that this may happen again if state police are created.
We are aware of what led to the creation of State Independent Electoral Commission(SIEC) from INEC after the debate was on for a long time. Ever since this was done,in how many states has the opposition party won at least two local government chairmen seats? Who pays the piper dictates the tune is the order here.Those who called for the creation of SIEC are now clamouring for its abolition. How many governors can account for the security allowance collected every month? The local government system that is supposed to stand alone as the third tier of government has been hijacked by the state governors for their personal gains.
This biggest anomaly in the constitution is that it gives so much power to the government at the centre.This is not a true federalism.There is therefore an urgent need for the devolution and decentralization of powers
In my opinion, this issue of the state police should be properly and carefully looked at before we jump into it so that it will not be yet another terrible mistake.God bless Nigeria!
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