By Innocent Anaba, Charles Kumolu, Abdulwahab Abdulah, Peter Duru, Gbenga Oke, Onozure Dania, Chioma Onuegbu
In this concluding part of the report which was first published yesterday, popular human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, continues his enumeration of the legal grounds for effective policing of each state of the federation, while Ahmed Joda, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, Dr Junaid Mohammed and Monday Ubani also had their say on the introduction of state police in Nigeria.
- It is doubtful if the governors are familiar with the case of the Attorney-General of Anambra State V Attorney-General of the Federation (2005) 9 NWLR (Pt 932) 572wherein the Supreme Court held that: “The Constitution in section 215 subsection (1) clearly gives the Governor of Anambra State the power to issue lawful direction to the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State, in connection with securing public safety and order in the State.
“In the light of the foregoing, the Council may wish to take advantage of the proposed meeting to direct the Attorneys-General of all the states of the Federation to embark on the immediate prosecution of the hundreds of suspects that have been arrested by the combined teams of the Police and the Army for culpable homicide, kidnapping, armed robbery and arson which are state offences.
“Apart from this proposed meeting I call on the governors to ensure that the Council meets on a regular basis to review the security situation in the country, from time to time. The security of the nation cannot afford to wait for the planned establishment of State Police.”
We should be cautious, thoroughly discuss the issue—Ahmed Joda
Writing last week in response to a statement in support of the state police initiative credited to Senator Ben Murray Bruce in a national daily, elder statesman, Ahmed Joda, had called for caution in adopting state police in Nigeria. With the benefit of hindsight, he had informed thus: “I am old enough to have experienced what life was like with state or local police in this country. I also am one of those who took keen interest in police and policing. In 1966, after our first military coup, I worked with a group of civil servants in the Northern Civil Service in an initiative to abolish the Native Authority Police, then under the effective control of the Regional Government. We were driven by our common concern of the massive abuse of the Native Authority Police.”
With regards to the present he had this to say: “We are a nation made of many nationalities, cultures, religions and traditions, each with different ways of viewing issues, issues that we must reconcile for our common good. I am persuaded that we need to decentralise our policing system. How we do so is the question to which we must give full and most urgent attention. We must not rush to create state police forces and think that we have resolved anything. Policing and security will not come cheap. It will cost a lot of money. I suspect that the reason that the Nigeria Police that we have is so bad, is because their funding is very poor; corruption is deep and much of the funds appropriated for the Force do not go into real policing duties but into the pockets of individuals at various levels. Their barrack accommodation is primitive or absent.
“In the Colonial period, Police Barracks around Nigeria were the choicest living environments. No more. Police Clubs and recreation facilities so necessary for the moral and proper discipline of the men have long disappeared. While some Governors complain that they cannot discharge their security duties just because they do not have their own police; every Nigerian who cares knows well enough that the Commissioners of Police in their states are in the pockets of their respective Governors who dole out pocket monies to the senior hierarchy. Nigerians and foreigners alike also know only too well that our Police cannot stop banditry.
“Unless we carefully work out how to create and properly finance good professional and efficient policing systems, we should not take the plunge.
Let us recognise that this is not a short-term undertaking. Let us give ourselves time to fully discuss this issue and to arrive at a National Consensus.”
Nigeria is not ripe for state police — Police Commissioner, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav
“My argument against state police remains the same. It has not changed. We are not ripe for state police. We have not developed to the level where state police will not be abused by politicians, especially the governors. Our people are wicked and will use state police against themselves. I served the Nigeria Police for 36 years and I know what is required for the police to be strengthened. The police should be reformed through the employment of more hands and provision of modern policing equipment.”
It will become weapons in the hands of politicians — Dr. Junaid Mohammed
“I have never been an advocate of state police because I believe strongly that Nigeria is immature for it. There are many politicians who will use their positions to their own advantage if they have the power to control the police.
“Though people will give examples that state police works well in places like Canada or United States of America, I agree but their own system is mature for it. When Nigeria operates at the same level of their democracy and we can properly finance it, then we can be talking about state police. Imagine states that are struggling to pay teachers salaries will now pay state police; that is a huge joke. I have never believed in it and I don’t think it will help our present security situation.”
State police is the way to go — Mr. Monday Ubani, NBA Second Vice President
“There is nothing that is not feasible. It is just to have the mindset and the political will to do the right thing. Providing the necessary things needed to guard against abuse should be done. We have been operating centralised police system over the years and we have discovered that it is not helping us.
“The Commissioner of Police in a state needs to get an order from the Inspector General of Police before he performs his responsibilities in a state where he works, that is wrong. The argument has always been that the governors will abuse it. In that case, we should become conscious of those we elect as governors.
“Those, who understand that powers are to be used for the advancement of the society, should be elected. People, who are likely to abuse the system, should not be elected as governors. When we have state police, we should provide those things needed to guard against abuse. It is not compulsory for every state to have state police.
“Only those who are willing and have the resources can introduce it. But those without capacity should not introduce it. The modalities for it should be worked out because we are not enjoying security in this country. Having state police is the way to go. Let there be a federal agency that will monitor the excesses of the governors who are likely to use state police for personal purposes.”