Governors back state police

The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) yesterday backed the creation of state police to address security challenges facing the country.

The governors’ position came four days after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo threw his weight behind the creation of state police. Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari made the position of the forum known at the National Security Summit organized by the Senate.

Yari said “The first primary responsibility of government anywhere in the world is to ensure that the lives and properties of citizens is protected. And there has been so many challenges in Nigeria for the past 10 years ranging from Boko Haram, cattle rustling, armed banditry, militancy in the Niger Delta dwindling the economy, threatening the unity of the nation.”

He said state police was first endorsed by the NGF during the last administration but that the crisis that enveloped the forum frustrated it. “The take home from this summit is that the vice president raised some of the key discussions about the issue of state police.

The state police is something we have agreed during the constitutional amendment but at a later time when the forum divided into two, some governors played to the gallery, which is unfortunate.  “Today, we have reiterated the position of the vice president on the security summit we held in August that there is a need for state police.

And we can say it is only the answer. “The police of today are inadequate so if we look at the ratio, it is far below international standard.

Therefore, we in the forum agreed that we can find a way of fine tuning the issue of state police,” he said. Yari said the establishment of state police should be based on the need and financial capacity of states. “That is why we are saying that it is not all the states that are supposed to have state police. Those that could can have it. For instance, Lagos State, as rich as they are, can have state police. The Federal police in Lagos, they can reduce the number to Osun, Ogun and other states that cannot do it. “If Rivers State can afford it, the number of federal police can be redeployed to Cross River and other neighbouring states like Enugu that cannot do it. If Kano State can do it, they can send the federal police to my state that is not all that rich.

It is something that we can’t take up at the same time and land at the same time,” he said. Senators express reservations over move  But in an interview, Senator Malam Ali Wakili (APC, Bauchi) kicked against the creation of state police, saying it would lead the country to a collapse state. “We are supposed to be moving forward and not backward. In this era of ICT, we need to have a police force that is modernized, that is well equipped with the required manpower. “Coming from the background where we had native authority police that were unleashed on perceived opponent of the NPC, those in authority used it against innocent citizens. With the level of intolerance of the state governors that are fighting with elected representatives like them, what do you think will be the repercussion?” he said. He said if established, the state police would be used to unleash terror on innocent citizens and that it would lead the country to a collapsed state. “The symbol of a collapse state is where you have a rag tag army, everybody controlling his territory. You know we have moved away from what they called a failed state to a collapsed state,” he said. Also speaking, Senator Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi) said creation of state police without alternative source of funding would compound the challenges facing state governments.

“Some states are saying they are not in the position to fund it. They are currently struggling to pay teachers, health workers and other categories of state workers, it is something that we need to discuss and find a way to address the funding gap,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe) said the primary purpose of the summit was to reassure citizens that all arms of government are serious about addressing insecurity and are working collaboratively to find solutions.”

 

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