The latest mass killings on the Plateau and the unrelenting spate of kidnappings in parts of the country may have caused the federal government to rethink its opposition to the issue of state police, with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday calling for their establishment.
Osinbajo, who stated this position yesterday in Lagos while delivering a lecture at the special parliamentary session in commemoration of the 3rd Anniversary of the 8th Assembly of Lagos State, contended that state and community policing by locals who understand the terrain and the local languages would no doubt address the problem of insecurity in the country.
Osinbajo made a case for state police to tackle the present security challenges confronting the nation, saying that “local policing is very important as part of our security architecture”.
Although the topic for the lecture was ‘Strengthening Legislative Institutions: Panacea for Eradicating Poverty’, the vice president narrowed the topic down to ‘Stronger State and the Eradication of Poverty.’
As against the general belief that the creation of a conducive environment by the government for business to thrive will check mass poverty, Osinbajo, however, stated categorically that poverty can be eradicated by having strong states with strong judiciary, executive and legislature that would channel the resources of the state to create wealth for the citizens.
“The three arms of government in the states must work proactively for the economic development of its citizens. To achieve this there must be devolution of powers to the states to enable them control their resources”, Osinbajo said.
He cited the great feat achieved by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who as Premier of the then Western Region recorded achievements that were acknowledged worldwide most of which have endured to this time, relying solely on revenue from taxes and cocoa.
Osinbajo also called for devolution of power and restructuring, but he stated that even without restructuring, it was possible to create a strong state without any major constitutional changes.
He cited how through the collaboration between the three arms of government in Lagos from the reign of Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu to the present governor, the state has been able to win series of cases at the Supreme Court which have given more powers not only to Lagos State but many other states as well.
According to him, the Lagos Assembly has pushed the frontiers of federalism by passing laws which have strengthened federalism in Nigeria.
He noted that for outstanding economic growth, there is the need to focus on education, healthcare and the provision of jobs through deliberate programmes. According to him, pumping more resources into these sectors will benefit the majority of the citizens.
The vice president stated further that the present government was working round the clock to create an environment for business to thrive, through a micro-credit scheme especially for those at the lower rungs of the economic ladder in order to lift them out of poverty.
In his response, Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode commended the leadership of the state Assembly for their team dynamics and infrastructural development within the Assembly.
On his part, the Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, said that in three years the Assembly has passed 28 bills into law and made over 100 resolutions on education, health, power, transport, security and environment for the well-being of Lagosians.
Killings: Army, Police In Show Of Force In Jos
The special task force in charge of the security of life and property in Plateau, Bauchi and parts of southern Kaduna, code named ‘Operation Safe Haven’ (OPSH), has declared that it had been reinforced with more material and personnel and was capable of tackling any security breach that might arise in the areas.
It, however, warned the people of the areas to desist from peddling rumours or engaging in further violent activities or protests.
The OPSH also assured Plateau State residents of their safely following last weekend’s killing of over 100 people in parts of the state, which has fuelled widespread tension.
Speaking yesterday after a ‘show of force’ military exercise around Jos and Bukuru metropolis involving large number of soldiers and officers, the OPSH Public Relations Officer, Major Adam Umar, said the show of force has boosted the people’s confidence and enhanced their feeling of safety.
“The exercise is a joint show of force by the Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) in conjunction with other security agencies, and the essence was to display our strength and to boost public confidence, and to assure them that they are safe.
“The rumour in town that there would be violent protest by the Muslim community should be treated as a rumour, but anyone desirous of finding out the factuality should call the authorities to hear their side and understand the situation, rather than joining in spreading the rumours as well. We have not heard that information, and besides we have enough security apparatus to tackle such situation should it occur.
“We recently received material and personnel support from the Defence Headquarters in Abuja. We received some special operation force unit, which has a broad and good training on security management and challenges, and we have already deployed them to the field. In the same vein, the Nigerian Air Force has deployed some helicopters to assist us in carrying out air surveillance. It is also good to know that the Inspector General of Police has deployed special operation personnel to augment our forces and apparatus on ground. So with all these, I believe that the peace we desire and have been enjoying will surely return to the state,” Major Umar said.
According to him, contrary to the notion that Plateau residents are apprehensive, the look in the people’s faces inspires confidence and shows that the people have reassurance of their safety, adding that during the show of force exercise, many people called him to express their joy and to let him know that their presence has actually calmed their tense nerves.
Umar maintained that the town was secure and the people were peacefully going about their businesses without fear.
He, however, explained that the security outfit (OPSH) was not responsible for the curfew imposed on some parts of the state, explaining that theirs is to enforce it. According to him, with the people’s cooperation and the way things are going, the curfew could be reviewed shortly.
The OPSH spokesman stressed that the task force would continue the show of force exercise as frequently as possible because whenever the people see the exercise, it boosts their confidence and gives them the feeling of safety.
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