By Jonathan Nda-Isaiah |
Recently, the clamour and calls for state police have grown louder as the country is beset with serious security challenges on all sides.
Last Monday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had joined other Nigerians advocating for the creation of state police, border protection council and devolution of powers to address the spike in insecurity in the country.
Similarly, the governors of the 17 southern states in Nigeria have demanded the creation of state police. Sadly, insecurity in the country is at an all-time high. Every region of the country is suffocating from insecurity. At present, in the South East and South-South, policemen and formations are endangered species as they are daily killed and attacked, raising fears of another Insurgency in the region.
In the North East, Boko Haram terrorists are still sacking villages and wreaking havoc. In the North West and North Central, bandits have made life a living hell for the people.
The question most Nigerians now ask is, how did we get here? How did life become so cheap in Nigeria? Daily newspapers are awash with gory tales of killings in almost every part of the country.
Many Nigerians have suggested the creation of state police as a way out. Do I think it will solve the issue? It might.
I also do not share the idea of regional security forces springing up in the regions. If the only way we will feel secured is retreating into our ethnic cocoons, then the country is heading for anarchy.
The fears about state police are not far-fetched. Most Nigerians believe our governors will abuse the state police, which I also believe.
For example, the state electoral commissions and legislatures are in the pockets of the governors. In the states, you dare not question the policies of the governors. Most senators who have criticised their state governors lost their reelection bids.
It’s funny how during a crisis, governors lament that they are not in control of the police but when it comes to rigging or arresting journalists and opposition figures in their states, they are in control of the police.
So, what’s the way out? Insanity they say is doing the same thing all the time and expecting a different result. I think we should tinker a little with our police system. I also do not believe that funding the police will improve the performance of the force. If you give the whole defence budget to the police, they will still ask for the usual N20 bribe . It’s already in their DNA.
Sadly, the police force as presently constituted cannot tackle insecurity in Nigeria. We need to tinker with the constitution to create state police. We should have a state police and a federal police which will serve as a check on the state police. We also need to strengthen and build our institutions that can check the excesses of some of our power-governors. This is the way to go.