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April 24, 2024

State police: Ehindero says it’s desirable, warns of abuse

state police

*Ehindero

As the controversy on whether or not to establish state police in the country continues, former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero alongside a lawyer, have expressed the desirability of state police, but warned against abuse.

Ehindero, in a paper entitled “It is time for state police in Nigeria,” said: “The issue of creation of state police is a national issue of public interest surpassing sectorial interest. Now, to the reasons for and against state police.

“First, the need to control crimes. It has consistently been argued that policing is essentially a local affair and as most crimes are local, we need a local police force. We all know that most crimes are not local.

“Crimes such as terrorism, trafficking in drugs and human persons, money laundering, kidnappings, armed robbery, herdsmen/farmers’ clash are not local. They are national, international, and trans-border crimes.

“But our experience in the past was such that Local Government Police and Native Authority Police were used to subvert the democratic process.

“The state police was used and manipulated by politicians to intimidate, prosecute, and suppress perceived political opponents. How about the conduct and results of local government elections in the states where the party in power in the state wins all the elections.

“Moreover, police are too expensive to be left in the hands of the states. Apart from Lagos, Kano, Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Ogun and some few states, others are unable to pay salaries of workers.

“What of the multiple costs associated with the maintenance of 36 police forces and the FCT, each force pursuing the same issues as recruitment, training and financing.

“But soon after, the Federal Government provided a template of the state police within the federal police structure. That was a game changer.

“This is remarkable. The overwhelming powers of the Federal Government to intervene in States matters have been curtailed.
“In effect, the grounds for the opposition to state police by and large, have been taken care of.

“The Federal Police has been retained to take care of national and trance boarder crimes amongst others.

“It is also expected that these amendments will be panacea to crimes of banditry, kidnapping, terrorism, and robberies provided police at federal and state levels are numerically improved, well equipped, trained, motivated, and allowed to perform their internal security duties.

“Be inform that the state police will bear firearms. With they being armed less will be required of the military. Too much military visibility in internal security matters is not good for our nascent democracy.”
Meanwhile, a lawyer, Koko Asuquo, said: “I am a proponent of state police.

“The constitution makes the governor of every state the Chief Security Officer of the state. To enable the governors function as such, they must be given the security apparatus of the state.

“In addition, true federalism promotes state autonomy, states must be made autonomous and one of such ways is through state policing.

“I have my fears that the there may be some level of abuse, but these abuse still exists under our current system. So state policing is the way to go.”

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