This has been the cry from all sectors for decades, and some autocrats say Nigeria is not “ripe” for state policing. One Inspector General cannot police over one hundred and fifty million people. Above all, the Federal police are on the road either collecting stipends, or on security duty with government functionaries or the foreign oil worker. I believe the state police will do justice to issues going on in every state.
Before state police can work in our country, certain reformation must be put in place. Firstly, the power to choose electoral umpires must be taken from the partisan people in power and vested in some non-governmental organisations at the federal, state, and local levels, through constitutional reform. Secondly, politicisation of religion must be addressed; this would put religion in the private realm where the constitution situates it. Also, there is also the problem of training and proper staffing. As I understand it, raising a professional police demands resources, both financial and otherwise.
State Police is an aspect of restructuring which Nigerians are yearning for. I believe it is a welcome development, if the President decides to promote it and is ready to listen to the yearnings of the masses.Full restructuring needs to be done in the country at large.
We need to be very careful with the issue of state police here. It is all fine for us all to agree on this issue but, we also have to be wary of state governors turning state police into a tool of intimidation against political opponents. The issue of state INEC springs to mind. State INEC was meant to bring democracy closer to the grassroots but, what do we have today? State INEC have become a joke and a play thing of state governors. Though state police are good,it must be done in a way that they are completely independent of state politics. How this is going to be achieved, I seriously do not have a clue considering how Nigerian politicians easily manipulate anything.
Before state police can be adopted, Nigerian leaders must be subjugated to rule of law; both the rulers and the ruled must be to a large extent, law-abiding. Otherwise, state police will be abused by the political and religious powers that be to further facilitate election-rigging, religious imperialisms, among others and promote anarchy in some states.
State governors will abuse citizens with state police if they also have the power to lay off the police chief. The condition for having state police must be that the Governor can appoint a Police Chief but he cannot fire him or her. Every state should have a five-member Police Commission with two (2) members each from the two largest political parties in the State and the fifth member should be a retired and respected judge who will chair the Commission. If it is done this way, I believe state police will be effective.
Yes, I am in support of it due to recent events in the country. For instance, the growing security threat posed by the murderous herdsmen has inspired the call by the government to implement the demands for the creation of state police. If states are given the power to have security apparatus to effectively carry out community policing, security threats such as herdsmen’s terrorism and other social vices in the various localities, all these killings will be aggressively curbed. More powers should be devolved to the states for the sake of building a virile and strong federal system. Looking at the issue of the herdsmen, they are not super humans. It is the lacklustre attitude of the security agencies in the country towards criminal activities that has made the herdsmen notorious for terrorising innocent Nigerians.
If the Nigeria Police Force which is managed by the Federal Government is this crooked, state police are a nightmare waiting to happen. Cases of accidental killings, harassment, extortion and other ills have been traced to the inability of the Nigerian policeman to live within what the government pays them as salaries. With most state governments being unable to pay the regular workers as atwhen due, addingarmed state policemen to the existing federal police is another way to legalise armed robbery unwittingly. At the moment, there are thousands of our policemen and women, whose duty is being an unofficial house help to our so called leaders all over the country. I feel state police should be called for in states that needs it the most. We must not rule out the tendency of some unreasonable state executives to turn the state police to their personal use.
Firstly, state police, as I foresee it will amount to nothing but a security tower of Babel with the tendency to unleash anarchy over the entire country. With thirty-seven independent command structures, inter-state police clashes will become rampant.Imagine the scenario between Anambra and Kogi States over ownership of oil wells. Or another between Nassarawa and Benue States over herdsmen attack. In any of these scenarios, the outcome would be the clash of two different police forces obeying two different command structures.Secondly, there is also the fear of what the state police will become in the hands of state governors. Opposition politicians, intra-party rivals, and even personal enemies of state governors and their cronies would become easy target for state police.Across the states, the governors will possess the powers to stifle, harass and intimidate anybody. We have seen this happen with the State Independent Electoral Commissions. The Commissions are so biased in favour of the governors’ parties that you would think that they are peopled by party men and women. Lastly, state police will lead to proliferation of arms and small weapons, thereby worsening the violent crime situation in the country. Knowing how irregularly most state governments pay their workers, one will be living in a fool’s paradise to think that once state police are involved, the state governors will have the money to pay them. Don’t forget, an irregularly paid state police will constitute more danger to society than armed robbers.
The issue of the Nigeria Police Force goes way beyond the problems of the country. Although it is a good idea but what about the funding? When we have states that cannot even generate enough revenue to pay workers, how on earth are they going to fund state police? If state police are not paid as at when due, what we currently have now will be a child’s play. The police will become a law onto themselves. I would suggest we stay well clear of that at the moment because, nobody has elaborated on how this will work.
Opening the flood gates for state police is the end of Nigeria as we know it. Governors in some states have used political thugs to win elections and to install their preferred candidate when their term is over. Allowing them to have their state police is to normalize this anomaly! The combination of unchecked access to the state treasury as well as sheer force in the form of state police is bad news for the country. The federal government should use the army and creative thinking strategy to solve the problems in the country; state police is definitely not the answer.
I agree with the idea of a state police; it will help the country in some ways. In most federations, federal police is concerned with cross-border crimes, security of ports (airport, sea ports, borders), and financial crimes. State police deal with issues like traffic control, parking, car licenses, in-state crime such as highway robbery, burglary, petty theft. Community or metropolitan Policing (third layer) should deal with area specific policing. Intelligence gathering and sharing can take place between federal, state and community levels as it happens in most federations. There should be a board which would have equal representation of not only the state executive but also the judiciary and civil society including traditional leaders and religious leaders. This board should constitute a Police Commissioner and his deputies. I am sure by doing this;there will perform even better than expected.
The advantages of having the police at the state level are many. These people will come from the state and I am of the view that their capacity to access the requisite intelligence to fight crime will be stronger. There is need to clearly limit the number of police attached to people in official capacity and their roles. A state government should not be using half of the police force to follow them around to events and as unnecessary escorts.
Establishment of State police without Fiscal federalism is an exercise in futility. Making state police funding a direct line charge of the federation account controlled by the federal government could never guarantee that tier of police the level of autonomy it must have to function properly. The State Houses of Assembly should take full responsibility for setting up and legislation of the governance of State police formations in accordance with the particular state’s needs and capacities.
The state police should come from the indigenes of the state. Thestateshould recruit the police officers because there is so much distrust in Nigeria now. If the president can only appoint his calibre of people in government by saying those are the people he trusts, then the states will recruit the people they trust as police.