By Ephraim Oseji
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and former Delta State governorship aspirant, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, has appealed to members of the National Assembly to facilitate the passage of state police Bill into law.
He made the appeal in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State during a workshop on creation of State Police. He said considering recent level of threat to public security across the country, the recourse to State Police seems a more attractive option, adding that the centralised policing system in the country had not really been effective and it was only logical that the people consider other plausible options.
He argued that to properly address the security question in the country. “We need to tackle the touchy issue of State Police,” stressing that the current centralized police structure in the country would continue to limit the capacity of states to effectively address security issues.
“Aside the well accepted philosophy that policing is essentially a local matter, every crime is local in nature. Hence, it is only rational to localize the police force,” he said.
No matter its form, crime detection needs a local knowledge that State Police can better provide.
“Let’s face the fact. Nigeria is too large and complex to be policed centrally. In an ideal federal system, the issue of state police should not be a contentious matter, after all, in the First Republic, there were regional police and local police existing side by side the federal police. If we are really serious about overcoming current security challenges in the country, we need to re-examine the issue of State Police more earnestly and objectively,” Onuesoke said.
He maintained that if state police formations come into existence it would be more penetrative and wide spread as well as more community-friendly relative to the NPF, stressing that since state governments now bore a reasonable percentage of the platforms and other logistics elements, it made sense for them to be constitutionally allowed to establish, fund and operate police formations.
Onuesoke who disagreed with the argument in some quarters that State Police is nothing but a recipe for anarchy as it could lead to abuse of power, argued that the reality, however, is that the present centralized policing arrangement has, over the years, equally been subjected to limitless abuse by the central authority.
“As a matter of fact, agitation for the creation of State Police should not be viewed as a partisan or an anti-Federal Government crusade. Neither can it be said to be the handiwork of mischief-makers or ruby-rousers. State Police is an important component of true federalism and emblem of authority of governance, since sovereignty is divided between the central authority and federating state authorities,” Onuesoke argued.
Onuesoke observed that the killings in the country, corruption in police and oppression of the common man continued mainly because the federating states were not constitutionally allowed to recruit, train, and equip enough manpower for the security of lives and property of citizens in their states,” Onuesoke stated.