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The State and demand for State police (2)

By John Amoda
IS it possible to speak of national insecurity in view of such regionalist dichotomy in the assessment of the present security challenges?

Senator Adokwe drives home his doctrine of “Presumption of Regularity”, namely in making the point that abuse of authority and power is so universal that only the good that the law can do should be the argument for its enactment.

“In Nigeria, the Nigeria Police is still being used by well-placed privileged citizens against the less-privileged ones. A governor can use the present police to do whatever he wants to do by just summoning the police commissioner and giving instructions.

The CP in the state would tell you, when it is convenient for him, that the governor is the Chief Security Officer of the state and that he had directed him to do this or that and the day it is not convenient for him, he would say that he is not answerable to the governor but to the president or taking ‘orders from above’.

Even if we are not going to have state police, the law must be made in such a way that wherever the police are, the state governor can have well spelt out and control over them”.

The security deficit argument has been exhausted by Senator Adokwe, leaving the ground for reform of the police as the systems of government rationale advocated by Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Governor of Ekiti State.

Senator Enang, Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business Position on State Police, in his interview of Saturday Vanguard, September 8, 2012 he was asked as follows:

”With the endless security challenges facing the nation, would you say the time is ripe for establishment of state police? His answer: “I am becoming a lot more concerned. I had supported the establishment of state police partially.

But as a member of the Constitution Review Committee, I will have to hear the rest of Nigerians before I will say this is how I will vote. But I am disappointed in the direction of the North against the South and that is the aim of the discussion.

The aim of the discussion is to point out the advantage or disadvantages… I have heard more submission of retired IGs of police. Those are matters that we should take as inputs in deciding whether or not to have state police. But we should also decide more whether the Federal Government is funding the police properly”.

Governor Fayemi’s position on state police dispenses with Enang’s constitutional strictures. He argues for state police in terms of that which is appropriate to a federalist government arrangement without differentiating between the federalist as the structure of sovereignty and of the administration of government.

This distinction is not trivial, for the lack of it is the hallmark of the thesis of Nigerian federalism. Dr. Fayemi’s position is phrased in the Wednesday Punch, September 12, 2012 by Oyetunji Abioye thusly: “I’ll continue to fight for state police”. Abioye reports the position of the Governor in the following:

“He said the future of Nigeria depended on security and, as such, it was high time the country considered the establishment of state police. He said: ‘My position on state police has not changed. I do not see any evidence on the other side that can change my position. I am not talking as a politician.

When I talk about state police I am talking as a security expert, which is my own area and I am not playing politics with it. I have a PhD in this area and I know what obtains everywhere in the world.

For our police to become efficient, we need to function efficiently as it is done everywhere in the world where you have a federal system. It is a norm all over the world anywhere you have a federal system, you always have a police system at every level of the federation; you can do your own research.

In the United States, Australia, Canada, India and everywhere there is a federation, the police exist at the local level, even at the city level; you have state police and federal police.

They do different works and the work is complementary and also in many of the states I have highlighted they have a single training institution, so that training is regularized. In India, the police academy in Hyderabad trains people both at the local level, provincial level and at the Federal level’”.

In the citing of the Indian Training Institution, Dr. Fayemi leans towards the definition of federalism as the structure of administration. What is the difference? It is in this fact: the structure of sovereignty determines the structure of government; but the structure of government does not determine the structure of administration of government.

The same structure of government may be effected by different structures of administration. The structure of administration is task-determined and similar functions may be administered differently.

Thus, the Indian monistic institution of training may for political reasons not be adopted by Australian politicians. Similarly, the United Kingdom is a federalist sovereignty constituted of the English, the Scots and the Welsh.

Yet the British Government, although unitarist, operates through a decentralized administration of government.

The United Kingdom has its parliaments- the English, the Scot- and neither can determine the structure of administration of the other. The changes in the constitutions of colonial Nigeria were responses to the politics of colonial relations between the colonial unitarist government and the subjects agitating for self-government and independence.

The import of the distinction made between the structure of sovereignty, the structure of government and the structure of administration of government is evident in the consummation of contestations for sovereignty.

It is the course of this contestation that determines the structure of government and the structure of the administrative machinery of government.


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