THE call for the establishment of state police is getting more strident, and continued opposition to it no longer makes sense. The Nigerian society has become complex, and so
are the variety and complexity of criminality now buffeting the citizens.
Just 10 years ago, it was inconceivable that Nigerians would volunteer themselves to terrorists as suicide bombers. Though religious conflicts had always reared their ugly heads, Nigerians boasted that the orgy of suicide bombings in the Middle East could never happen in their country. Today, suicide bombing has become commonplace in the North East.
Other forms of criminality which were unheard of decades ago, such as kidnapping, pipeline vandalisation, the buying and selling of infants, herdsmen’s attacks and cybercrimes, have now
become the order of the day. Theterrorists in the North East, as in other parts of the world, do not shrink from any form of abomination. The addition of abduction of school girls as in
Chibok and Dapchi, attacks on schools and the murder of school pupils and teaching staff, are evils that no one contemplated would confront the nation.
The amendment of the Constitution to introduce state police is urgently needed. We must
confront our security challenges by empowering the states to create their own correctional systems, particularly police outfits and prisons. The Nigeria Police Force, NPF, has not only proved incapable of coping with our security challenges, it has also of late been accused of favouritism over the herdsmen’s attacks on farmers and indigenous communities.
Policing is a local activity. The people of any locality are always best placed to police their
communities. Nobody can effectively police the vast precincts of the country from Abuja. Because the NPF is spread thin all over the country and poorly funded, the Federal Government is forced to mobilise the army to do basic police work.
It is not solving the problem.
The Constitution should be amended to allow states share the powers of policing with the Federal
Government. The fear that state governors might use them to feather their political nests can be
addressed through dialogue and power sharing as we have in the health and education sectors. The
constitutional rights of all Nigerians to settle and thrive in any part of the country should be
enforced by the courts to address impunity by state authorities.
Giving the states the power to establish their police outfits will permanently reinforce the position of governors as Chief Security Officers of their states. They should, by law, be held
accountable and liable for the use and abuse of powers while in
The state police is an idea that can no longer wait.