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Monday, December 5, 2022

Still on State Police

WITH the economic and security challenges Nigeria has been confronted with in recent years, the calls for the restructuring of the country through constitutional review has been as pervasive as the apprehensions shown about these developments in certain quarters, particularly in the southern part. Specifically, governors in southern Nigeria have, through their platform, and in different engagements, pushed for the devolution of powers to sub-national level of the state in order to tame economic challenges, accelerate economic growth  and mitigate insecurity.

AS alternatives around the recalcitrance of the federal government that has continued to argue in defense of the exclusive assumed prescription of the constitution that confers the security of the country on federally-owned and controlled security agencies, including the police, states across the country, at times through regional corporations,  have emplaced outfits such as the Amotekun Corps (southwest), Ebubeagu (southeast), Benue Guards, and Vigilantes in most northern states to secure residents in their states, as they are largely redundantly called the Chief Security Officers. 

VERY instructively, the calls for the creation of State Police by southern governors and opinion leaders received massive boost recently from the 19 northern governors, under the Northern Governors Forum, and traditional leaders from the region who called for the immediate establishment of State Police, to tackle the insecurity that has held the country by the jugular.

THE concerned governors and traditional rulers of northern extraction were unequivocal that the kidnapping, massive killings and wanton destruction of property across the country would only be nipped in the bud through the creation of State Police. As commendable as this initiative is, we wonder if the call is not coming too late, considering the devastation that has plagued the north central, western and eastern belts, nay all states in the country.    

THE  Hope is of the opinion that this unambiguous Abuja resolution by the Northern Governors Forum and Northern Traditional Rulers Council to support the amendment of the Constitution to accommodate the establishment of State Police is a huge reinforcement for the hitherto almost lonely or sectional voice of the Southern Governors Forum and leaders of thought who have cried themselves almost hoax on the vexed matter. Given the foregoing, we are of the view that with this twist, the time is ripe to revisit the issue and toe that line, in order to unmask the monstrous palpable insecurity that is almost challenging the sovereignty of governments in the country, and endangering lives and property of citizens.  

OBVIOUSLY, the federal government that has arrogated so much power to itself at the centre has lost the competence to secure the country, because of the centralisation of the operations, control and funding of security, whereas security is local in its entirety. The Hope believes that the apparent failure of the federal government requires some courage from it to acknowledge its helplessness and devolve some of the powers to the states, to allow them function within constitutional prescriptions and expectations.

IT is instructive that available evidence shows that some of the regional and state security apparatuses have done remarkable exploits, particularly as advertised by the Amotekun Corps in Ondo State, and it is urgently desirable that, pending the creation of State Police, the existing regional and state security outfits should be allowed to bear firearms like AK-47, which the federal government has prohibited for them, so that they could confront non-state actors like bandits and terrorists who parade assault rifles; maiming and killing with reckless abandon.

WE therefore support Governor Akeredolu’s stance on this as he recently stated: “the fight back against marauders committing crimes against humanity must allow subnational and regional authorities to have the tools, the most sophisticated weapons available which the marauders already have in abundance”.

IN achieving the licensing of state security outfits, divisive selective approaches like the one allegedly traceable to the approval of AK-47 for Katsina Vigilante Group by the federal government, as contained in the excoriation of Arakunrin Akeredolu that “it is unacceptable if the state(federal government) sanctions different rules of engagement for different sub-national governments”. This must be avoided in order not to sustain multiple standards in the polity, and further create mistrust among the citizens.                                        

THE Hope  concludes that this is more so as hiring the security outfit owned by an individual by the federal government to protect oil pipelines is not as imperative as empowering lawful regional and state security organisations to undertake the security of citizens.           

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