The clamour for State Police has heightened in recent months mainly due to the inability of the regular police and other security agencies to deal squarely with the rising insecurity in the country.
Recall that the call for an autonomous state’s police reached its peak recently when the media misconstrued a mere directive of Mr. President to a three-man committee to study a report submitted to the presidency on Special Anti-Robbery Squad and produce a white paper, to mean the establishment of State Police.
Far from it, though, the presidency has since clarified it statement as a merely setting up a committee, but the clamour for state police has not abated.
In fact, until the lingering vexed issue of insecurity is properly addressed, we cannot wish away the creation of state police.
We are aware that as it stands now, several impediments are on the way of state police.
First, is the lack of will power on the side of Federal Government to decentralise policing and give the states/governors police’s inherent coercive powers for obvious political reasons.
But can the vulnerable citizens of our nation remain prey to kidnapers, arms bandits, robbers, terrorists, assassins, rappers, thieves and victims of communal clashes forever, just for the simple reason that creating an establishment to address these unlawful activities will empower political opponents?.
Second, the states are ill-prepared to shoulder the responsibilities associated with the funding of an autonomous police, their rhetoric of “give us a state police” notwithstanding.
Recently, the Chairman of Governors’ Forum, Governor Fayemi of Ekiti State, made it clear that the state governments are financially constrained to fund state police, adding that some are financially handicapped to pay workers salaries.
If really that is the position, the country must seek alternative source of funding for the State Police. We believe that the Police Trust Fund Bill which received the approval of the Senate of the 8th National Assembly in April this year, can be revisited by 9th National Assembly at least to expound its scope to include funding for state police.
Importantly, we must amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and remove policing from exclusive list. It is also important to address its funding and control.
These are essential because the tasks before the Nigeria Police are enormous. Presently, the military are engaged in police duties in almost all the 36 states of the federation. The implications are not only telling on the military’s core duty but militarising the society will take decades of sustained efforts to correct.
We therefore plead with the Federal Government quickly give its nod for establishing of state police by states that not only desire it but can operate and fund it in line with constitutional safeguards to avoid misuse. We believe that with the coming on board of state police in states in addition to the efforts of the federal Police –the Nigeria Police Force, the upsurge in crime will nosedive