I support Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s call for the creation of State Police. I hope it is not a ploy by the APC led federal government to hoodwink Nigerians on the issue of Restructuring as we approach 2019. I commend the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), for backing the VP’s call and proposing modalities on how it can be implemented in the various states of the federation.
The major argument adduced by those who oppose state policing is the immaturity of politicians in our clime, especially the governors, who will be the major beneficiaries, and their proclivity towards abuse of power. The powers of the President to declare a State of Emergency in any state of the federation, where there is a breakdown of law and order, and to appoint an interim administrator in lieu of the governor, will serve as check against this. Any governor who abuses his powers can be easily voted out by the electorate in the next elections. The governors would also have it at the back of their mind that they are occupying a tenured office and if they use State Police as an instrument of vendetta against their opponents while in power, similar measures might be meted to them by their successors when they are out of power. The argument that they will be used to rig elections in favour of incumbents does not hold water as politicians in different political parties have also used the current Federal Police to rig out their opponents in elections. Furthermore, results from the 2011 and 2015 polls have revealed that Nigerians are much wiser than before and can prevent rigging if they want to. The fact that we are talking of the immaturity of our politicians means that we voted immature politicians into office. The electorate should be more circumspect in their choice of leaders knowing the enormous powers that will be bequeathed to them upon assumption of office.
Governors would be the Chief Security Officers of their states, both in words and in deeds, endowed with the capability to address any security challenge within their domain. The plethora of security challenges that bedevil our nation would be significantly reduced as the State Police would be dealing with a smaller terrain, using locals who will act as informants and spies to reveal the hideouts of criminals. It will also solve the problem of under policing in Nigeria. According to information about the Nigerian Police gleaned from Wikipedia, there are about 371,000 policemen,80% of whom are currently on VIP Protection Duties, leaving only 20% (about 76,000 policemen) to provide security for 180 million citizens. It will be a boon to the APC led federal government as most of the blame for the security challenges in the country would no longer be put on President Muhammadu Buhari but on the the doorsteps of the state governors.
The roles and duties of the State Police should be clearly spelt out in the constitution. That should also include what would happen in the event of a clash between the Federal and State Police. It (State Police) would also create jobs for millions of teeming unemployed youths across the states of the federation. The use of militias, touts, thugs, and other criminally minded individuals to enforce state laws by governors, most of whom end up turning over to full blown criminality, would be a thing of the past with the creation of State Police.
The issue of where to get the funds for State Police does not arise as most of the state commands of the current Federal Police are funded by the governors. All they need to do is to divert such funds towards the State Police.