By OUR CORRESPONDENTS
Governors across the 36 states of the federation have kicked against President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent rejection of state police.
Citing the enormous security challenges facing the country, the governors said the time had come for Nigeria to have a decentralised policing system by allowing the creation of state police.
In separate interviews with LEADERSHIP, the governors, who spoke through their top aides on security matters, permanent secretaries and commissioners, declared that the military, the police and other security agencies owned by the federal government were already overwhelmed by the worsening security challenges caused by terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and other crimes.
The governors also said that they were already supporting the federal security agencies with huge resources in terms of logistics and motivation of personnel enough to run their separate entities.
Until the controversy is resolved, the governors said they would concentrate on upgrading their vigilantes, local guards and regional security organisations such as Amotokun in the South West and EbubeAgu in the South East geo-political zones.
However, retired military and police, such as Generals and Inspector-generals of Police (IGP), and other security experts expressed divergent views on the viability of state police.
President Buhari had during an interview on Channels Television on Thursday said state police was not an option. He said apart from the certainty that governor would abuse such powers, the states do not have what it takes to finance devolution of powers.
But in Kaduna State, a senior official said Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s position on the creation of state police to complement federal government police has not changed, despite the rejection of state police by President Muhammadu Buhari, a source has disclosed.
El-Rufai had on several occasions said the APC true federalism committee which he chaired recommended multi-level policing, not just state police, but even local government police.
The governor in October last year explained why the policing system should be decentralized.
“We have 150,000 personnel in the Nigerian Army. Police were 400,000 by the time this government came on board but has gone down to 300,000 now.
“We need multi-level police. Policing is local; just like a unitary environment like Britain, Kaduna State is about 46,000sqkms in size; Boko Haram has been chased from the Northeast by ISWAP and now occupying the Northwest.”
A retired senior police officer, John Alago, said if the federal government is against state police, they should employ at least 100,000 police personnel from each state to secure Nigeria.”
In Niger State, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has repeatedly decried that he has no control over the security agents, thus he cannot give direct command amid the security challenges confronting the state.
Apparently in support of state police, the state government recently announced the harmonisation of the vigilantes in the state into a corps with a unitary commander.
The state commissioner of local government and internal Security Emmanuel Umar announced this to journalists recently.
The state House of Assembly had earlier passed a law to give vigilantes legal backing to complement the conventional security organisations.
LEADERSHIP observed that the vigilance corps in the state now have patrol vehicles and motorcycles just like the police.
The Secretary of International Institute of Professional Security, Niger state Comrade, Abdullahi Jabi told LEADERSHIP that the averse posture of the President Muhammadu Buhari against state police showed that he was not in touch with the realities in the country.
He said that, “It is an erosion of mind to say somebody is a chief security and has no control over the security agents. Nigeria is ripe for state police and the governors should relax the struggle because of the President’s position.”
The Imo State government has emphasised that with the enormous security challenges confronting the nation, entrusting all issues relating to security in the hands of the federal government may not yield the needed positive results.
The position was made known by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Hon. Declan Emelumba, while interacting with LEADERSHIP. According to him, this is the time for state governors to think outside the box and formulate workable solutions to tackle the spate of insecurity in the various states.
Hon. Emelumba submitted that with the peculiarity of insecurity in the state, the governor, Hope Uzodinma, has adopted strategies that will check this menace through the formulation of local vigilante groups, the adoption and formulation of regional security outfit, known as Ebube Agu, so as to complement the police.
Emelumba revealed that perpetrators of crime within any locality draw their support from the locals, adding that infiltrators would find it difficult to operate without the connivance of the indigenes.
The commissioner explained that with the present scenario, bringing strangers who are not conversant with the terrain to secure a strange environment would not yield the required result.
In his contribution, the Programme Director, Development Dynamics, Dr. Jude Ohanele said President Buhari’s allusion to the propensity for governors to abuse their powers as his argument against state police does not hold water.
He argued that true federalism structure entails that states should control their security outfits, so as to complement the federal government. He called on the federal government to be circumspect and approach the spate of insecurity from the perspective of the state governors for maximum and effective result.
A top aide to Governor Godwin Obaseki on security matters, Mr Haruna Yusuf, when contacted for comment, was on the view that the president needs to be fully abreast with security situations before taking a position even though he is entitled to his position as the president.
The security expert further added that steps taken so far by the Edo state government have yielded positive results with the establishment of local community policing in the state.
He said, “In the last couple of years I know the numbers of vehicles procured by the Edo state government and distributed to security agencies and it is no longer a hidden secret that state governments make allocations to security agencies domiciled in their states.
“What we are doing in Edo State to bridge the security gap is that state police is urgently needed and, for me, I don’t see how the government can run away from the obvious reality of the need for state Police in Nigeria as it stands today.
“This morning (yesterday) on NTA, I watched General Irabor make a categorical statement about the importance of the civilian JTF, how they have been partnering with the military and other security agencies in the fight against Boko Haram and other criminality in Northern Nigeria and that their importance cannot be over-emphasized.
“He also said on national television that in his meeting with the Inspector General of Police, IGP, and at the national Security Council meeting they always discuss the issues of JTF which is like the community vigilante network like what we have in Edo state, which is also like the community policing which Nigeria Police Force is driving.
“In Edo state, we have not established state police but what we have tested is partnering with the community’s stakeholders and using the organic human resources of the same community to identify, to detect, and destroy crime in Edo State.
“What we have done is that the community on their own recommended those they feel have credibility; whose credibility Intelligence and Availability, CIA, are hundred percent and integrity is well assured. What is important is their availability in their community, not by proxy.
“In Edo state with 1,416 communities we have carefully studied, they have remained secure in the sense that criminals can no longer find their ways to reside before they are evicted.
“However, we need state Police backed up with federal police just as we have in other climes; we are ripe for it. The Amotekun, vigilantes and others can be converted to state Police and trained with light weapons; this will go a long way to ameliorate the security challenges in the country.
In Benue State, Governor Samuel Ortom has endorsed the creation of state police, saying it will aid the efforts of the federal forces to secure the nation.
The governor who spoke through the Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, did not state in clear terms whether the Governor is going ahead with State Policing or not.
He said, “Given the current insecurity challenges, operating the State Police will aid the efforts of the federal forces to secure the nation. It is his submission that since we have copied the Presidential system of government from America, we’ll do well to copy wholesale its other variants of democratic institutions.
“The US operates state police. So, it will be wise for Nigeria to step up and do the right thing. I think the President is ill-advised to declare his dislike for state police.”
On the issue of what other arrangements the state government has to block the policing gap in the state, he said Governor Ortom has signed into law the amended Community Volunteer Guards bill with a call on the State Bureau for Internal Affairs to immediately set up the machinery for recruitment.
During the signing ceremony, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Mike Gusah explained that the old law had lapsed, stressing that under the new law, a command structure will be set up at the District, Wards and Local Government level.
The governor also announced that five able-bodied men will be recruited from the kindred, 10 at the ward level while the local government will have representatives from council wards to ensure management and supervision of the guards for a smooth take off.
“Those to be recruited must be within the age range of 18-50 years and should have a means of livelihood to avoid the temptation of indulging into unwholesome practices.”
In an interview with the state chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Barr. Justin Gbagir said, “In my opinion there are a lot of security challenges across the states and the Federal Government is in total control of the security apparatus in the country and it has not been able to address the security challenges bedeviling the states.
“So, bearing it in minds that governors are the chief security officers of their respective states with no constitutional power to direct security agencies in their domains to act in case of security threat, this is not helping states, so I am of the view that the state should be allowed to have their own security arrangements.”
For one year now, Zamfara State has recruited 1200 constabulary police.
After the training at Sokoto Police College, the state constabulary police were handed over to the state police command for posting to local government areas.
The constabulary police are currently working under the watch of state police command in various local government divisional offices.
Aware of the need for a state police, Lagos State government established the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) and adequately equipped them to address some of the security challenges residents are facing in Lagos State.
Commenting on the need for a state police, a member of Lagos State House of Assembly Hon. Setonji David said those against state police are enemies of the country.
The former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase (rtd) told LEADERSHIP that President Buhari is not rejecting state police, saying the president only said it not an option.
According to him, the state government should provide their own opinion to ensure that their states are safe.
“Akeredolu has done it by establishing Amotekun and the system is yielding results for the state.
“He has put his resources together in the state and he is doing fine to ensure that his people can sleep with eyes closed.’’
The former Police boss said that there is nothing wrong If other states of the federation can put their resources together and provide security for their people, saying if this is done the issue of creating state police by the President will not be a discussion any more.
“The business of security of lives and properties should not be the business of the executive only but a collective responsibility of all arms of government. Security of life of our people must be guaranteed so that everyone can sleep with two eyes closed.”
Arase called on the state governors to put their resources together from the state’s security votes and provide adequate security for their people instead of depending on the Federal Government to secure their states for them.
Plateau State Governor Simom Lalong while speaking on insecurity at the Inter-denomination Service to mark this year Armed Forces Remembering Day said the state had embraced community policing to ensure early warning, intelligence gathering and crime prevention using a button-top approach.
collaborating the governor’s statement, Hon. Dan. Manjang, the Plateau State Commissioner of Information and Communication said the state was not in support of State Police but rather canvassing for Community policing. He said Plateau has a semblance of State Police that is called “Operation Rainbow,” the state-owned security outfit.
Manjang also noted that the state government had recruited over 3500 youths who were sent to Makurdi for training. He added that at the end of the training, they were sent to the 17 local government of the State as Police Constabulary in the area of intelligence gathering.
Also speaking to our correspondent on the rejection of the establishment of State Police by President Buhari, the North Central zonal coordinator of Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Mr. Steve Aluko said if the governors are serious they should mobilise the National Assembly members to make sure they pass the bill or act, considering the level of insecurity in the country.
According to Aluko the best practice globally is complementary efforts and State Police is part of the complementary efforts that Nigerians are yearning for, saying they should also scale it down to the local government level where community policing or neighbourhood watch is guaranteed.
He warned that Nigerians should not allow the President to black mail them. Aluko argued that the report from the Inspector General of Police IGP and the Chief of Army Staff was glaring that we have insufficient personnel to counter the level of insurgence, banditry and criminalities in Nigeria, and the best practices anywhere is that we must scale down the structures.
“If the president is saying it is not an option, was it not part of his campaign promises. It means that Mr. President has failed in his responsibility of protecting lives and prosperity of the citizenry. If he said it is subject to abuse, is the federal police not abused? We should have a framework that will check the excesses.”
The senior special adviser on security to the Ondo State governor, Alhaji Dojumo, said for crime and criminality to reduce in the country, there is no alternative to state police.
He said the motive behind the creation of Amotekun was to complement the efforts of other security agencies in the state.
Dojumo noted that the collaborative efforts between “Amotekun Corps” and the regular security agencies in the state had reduced to the barest minimum incidences of crime and ensured that the state remains relatively peaceful.
He said, “I don’t think there is an alternative to state police. Some officers of the police in Ondo state are not familiar with the area of their operation. They don’t even have vehicles in some areas to access the crime spot.
“That was the vacuum that Amotekun has been able to fill. The major work of Amotekun in Ondo state is to complement the efforts of other security agencies in the state. I don’t know how we can reduce the growing rate of crime in our society without having state police on ground.”
The Katsina State government has expressed its commitment to its new security arrangement, stating that it is yielding positive results in the fight against banditry and other related crimes in the state.
The special adviser to Katsina State governor on security matters, Ibrahim Katsina, said the state government had recruited 1,000 vigilantes trained to complement the effort of security agencies in the rural communities.
He said the process is part of its concept for community policing, where reliable and trustworthy people of proven integrity in communities, vouched by their traditional and community leaders, were trained to augment security personnel efforts in curtailing insecurity.
But the State chairman of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), Jamilu Chanrachi, aligned himself with President Muhammadu Buhari’s comment, saying the state governments are not ready to fight insecurity with their various security arrangements.
Stressing that instead of Katsina State government to be focusing on creating employment and educating the people to rid poverty and holistically with all sincerity of purpose which is the tripod upon which banditry has been nurtured, is ridiculously arming hungry and angry people that may create anarchy and lawlessness in time to come.
Governors Need Time To Perfect Plans For State Police – Gen Ibrahim
Meanwhile, Brigadier-General B.M. Ibrahim (rtd) has said that while there is demand for states in Nigeria to have state police to manage the growing trends of insecurity in the country, they don’t have the financial wherewithal to shoulder the responsibility of managing state police.
He said that only Lagos and Rivers states among the 36 states of the federation can bear the financial burden of running state police.
Brigadier-General Ibrahim said that as such, governors need to make an adequate plan for the actualisation of the state of police in the next 10 to 15 years.
“People are skeptical about the creation of state police because they think that governors are going to deploy them to witch hunt people of the opposition.
“It is glaring that at the moment the crop of police on the ground is not enough compared to the security demands across the country, there are many places that don’t even have an outpost police station,” he said.
Also, the special adviser to Enugu State Governor, Steve Oruruo said though state police would have helped to improve the security architecture, Enugu State is not worse off by any means.
He described Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as a man with foresight to have located a time like this and created rejuvenated Neighborhood watch and Forest Guards.
Oruruo, however, insisted that in the absence of state police, we must live in harmony, continue our unity in diversity, adding that Enugu has continued to be peaceful because it takes a step ahead of others in the Southeast.
In his reaction, a chieftain of the Southeast Zone of CLO, Comrade Kindness Jonah, said the concern of the civil society is that the very man saddled with the responsibility of providing security, protecting Nigerians , has woefully failed judging from the template of recorded deaths by of bandits , boko haram, among others.
Jonah, who is the convener of Voice from the East, described the statement as “ambidextrous”.
A retired police officer, Mr Obinna Ezenwa, however, warned that the absence of state police may worsen the ongoing insecurity in the country and advise the president to make it an option.
He insisted that state police will help the federal police to secure the country as it will give opportunity to those with adequate knowledge of the local environment to fight criminals.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP, the chief press secretary to Abia State governor, Barr Onyebuchi Ememanka, echoed the governor’s call for the creation of state police.
Ikpeazu had in May last year, during a zoom meeting organized by the state media forum (AMF), stressed the need for such development to assist in protecting the lives and property of the people.
“With the daily increasing reports of security breaches across the length and breadth of the country, the need for the establishment of state police cannot be overemphasized. It has become very needful,” he noted.
Ememanka said not discouraged by the federal government rejection of the idea, the state’s Homeland Security, which was created by the present administration, has been doing its best.
A retired senior police officer and security expert, Chief Jimmy Okwuonu, who gave his consent to the idea, however, said it must be done with caution to prevent the governors from hijacking them for their selfish interest.
However, a legal practitioner and civil rights activist viewed “the unfolding arguments about the merits and demerits of state police is a fallout of the inadequacies in the country’s constitution.”
According to him, federalism in the real sense guarantees the federating units powers to create state police, “but here we are, a federal constitution being operated as unitary,” he lamented.
He maintained that whatever may be the inhibitions to the idea “should be looked at once again to save the citizens from anarchy as the security agencies appear to have been overwhelmed by the situation.”
Kwara State government said it will continue to synergise with all the security agencies in the state to further beef up security across the state.
The Senior Special Assistant to the state governor on Security, Alhaji Muyideen Aliyu stated this in his reaction to President Muhammadu Buhari’s rejection of the establishment of State Police.
Aliyu said the state government will continue to provide the security agencies with all the necessary logistics needed to perform their duties more effectively.
“We have been doing this through donation of patrol vehicles to the security agencies and provision of other logistics. So, Kwara State government does not have any problem with the president’s position,” he added.
A security expert and retired police officer with the Metropolitan Police, United Kingdom, Alhaji Ambali AbdulRaheem, expressed opposition to the creation of state police in Nigeria.
He said: “As far as I am concerned, I will not support the creation of state police in Nigeria for the following reasons; we have not been able to manage our diversities as a nation, politicians will mis used them and use them against their perceived political enemies, state police will be under the control of the Governors in their respective states.
“It will also lead to multiple commands which will not augur well for national security.
The essence of security is intelligence gathering. State police command will not be sharing vital security information most especially if the party in control is different from that at national. And finally there will be conflict of jurisdictions.
He called for better funding of the police and other security agencies in order to ensure effective policing of all the nooks and crannies of the country.
In Rivers State, it seems not to be static if Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike will continue to call for establishment of state police in the country or not.
Even though in 2019, Wike joined in the call for the establishment of state police, however, in 2020, he advocated for the strengthening of the law that established the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
When contacted, both the commissioner for information and communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim and the permanent secretary, Special Duties, Office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr George Nweke, said it was only the governor that could speak on the issue.
However, speaking with LEADERSHIP in Port Harcourt, a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Dr. Uche Mike Chukwuma, said even if President Muhammadu Buhari did not see state police as the best option, the next President may not see it in that direction.
Chukwuma said, “Well, if the president said state police is no longer an option in terms of assisting in internal security of the nation, I think it is because he is comfortable with the physical security around him.
“But I don’t think I want to say yes because the president said so. Those of us who have been in the system and came out know that state police is the next option to work in tandem with federally established police that are in existence.
“However, the president said he doesn’t want it; this is his own period. Another President may come in and say it is the best. One thing about Nigerians is that we just say yes because somebody had said yes without even airing our own views on the issues.”
Governor Ahmadu Fintiri has lauded the military for the fight against insurgents in Adamawa State.
The state commissioner for information Comrade Umar Garba Pella said the military has done very well to ensure people sleep with two eyes closed.
Pella, who refused to comment on the issue of state police, said the military has rekindled consistent hopes in the people of the region.
“Government appreciated the military for maintaining peace and tranquility in the state and the region.
Pella reiterated the state government’s commitment to supporting the security agencies in the state for liberating the state from insurgents”.
Effort to speak to the Governor proved abortive as he said to be out of the state capital.
The issue concerning state police has become so daring such that some people have expressed diverse views and reservations about it..
A very senior security officer of deputy director level, who retired from DSS, who would not want to be mentioned in print, told our correspondent in Lokoja, Kogi State capital, that allowing state police by each state government will work at cross purposes with the conventional Nigeria Police Force (NPF). He argued that the governors and top notch in government in the State will manipulate, hijack the structure for personal advantage.
According to the retired top brass in the security fold, state police would escalate insecurity in the land as most of the LG officials would use them to harass their opponents indiscriminately.
However, it will bring security close to the grassroots as there is not enough manpower from the conventional NPF, Alhaji Seidu Babs has argued.
Anambra State government has insisted that it would continue to maintain its ad-hoc security arrangement in the face of the absence of powers to state governments to establish their own respective police force.
The commissioner for information and public enlightenment, Mr. C. Don Adinuba stated this exclusively in an interview with LEADERSHIP while stating the government opinion concerning the recent rejection by the President, Muhammadu Buhari to approve demand for states across the country to be granted powers to establish their respective police force.
Adinuba particularly argued that the powers for establishment of state police is a constitutional matter and therefore does not lie on the Presidency to grant or reject such a demand.
He, therefore, stated that it even wrong to have channeled the demand for states to be allowed to set up their own state police to the Presidency arguing that “Mr. President doesn’t even have any constitutional powers to say ‘yes or no’ to states in respect of the demand for state police”.
“It (approval of establishment of state police) is a constitutional matter which the Presidency does not have any powers to grant or reject. It can only be possible through a constitutional amendment, this is why I didn’t say any reason for the initial brouhaha about the demand for the Presidency to grant states powers to establish their own police force”, Adinuba argued.
He stated that in the face of the increasing waive of insecurity in the state, the state government decided to set up vigilante outfit to compliment the efforts of the conventional security institutions, including the police, Directorate of State Services, DSS and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC to ensure adequate security in the state.
Adinuba stated that while the work of the vigilante operatives are essentially to provide intelligence information to the security organisation concerning criminals and help in arresting them, the government further gives direct support to the security agencies to ensure that they have adequate operational equipment like patrol vehicles, and surveillance equipment for crime detection.
Meanwhile, a retired Superintendent of police, Mr. Kelvin Okpe has stated that the level of insecurity challenges in the country vis-à-vis the seeming inability of the nation’s security institutions, especially the police force to contain it has made it mandatory that states, and communities should be granted powers to set up security outfits to compliment the efforts of the conventional security institutions.
“It is clear that police cannot tackle the level of insecurity in the country alone. They don’t have all the needed manpower and logistics, so it is necessary to allow states and town unions to set up vigilante groups to assist the police, otherwise, the police cannot do it alone”, Mr. Okpe stated.
The Bayelsa State government has declared support for the establishment of State Police despite the rejection by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Already, the state government has adopted the establishment of Community Safety Corps with a legal backing signed into Law to ensure that youths from the various communities police their areas and ensure improved security.
Governor Douye Diri said the decision was to reinvigorate the security architecture of the state to make it more efficient and effective in crime fighting,” the operations of the state security outfit was not to usurp the functions of the conventional security agencies but to support and collaborate with them in efforts to rid the state of criminals”.
Diri said the priority of his administration is to ensure the prosperity of all, which cannot be achieved without security of lives and property, describing crime fighting as a collective effort, he appealed to security agencies to conceal the identity of informants to encourage people to report criminal activities.
He also appreciated his predecessor, Senator Seriake Dickson, for establishing the Operation Doo-Akpo in 2012, which he said has over the years assisted in combating crime, “I have just signed the Community Safety Corps Bill into law. This is intended to complement the work of the constitutional recognised security agencies. The law also harmonizes the special security outfits of the state under one umbrella. This means that henceforth Operation Doo-Akpo, Bayelsa Volunteers and the Bayelsa Vigilante will operate under one umbrella”.
Backing the state government, the chairman of the Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers and the Ammanayabo of Twon Brass, King Alfred Diette Spiff has thrown his weight behind the calls for the establishment of State Police, describing those against the calls as Ignorant and confused persons.
King Alfred Diette-Spiff made this known yesterday at the State Secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Yenagoa during the launch of a book titled “Gbogbosi-Gbogbosi (Never Again), A collection of memoir of the Nigerian civil war (1967-1970) and diary of Major Michael Oputa (rtd) written by I.B Osborne Robison.
Diette-Spiff, who was also the first Military Governor of the Old Rivers State, the establishment of state police will improve security, increase employment and give more people a sense of belonging in the peace, stability and security of the country.
He however said those against the calls for state police are not in-tune with the current situation in the country,” Those against state police are wrong. If you make laws, you must have people to enforce them. It’s like breaking an egg to make an omelet. Why should people refuse state police based on the claim that state governors will hijack it for personal gains?”
Delta Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has said that Peoples Democratic party Governor’s in their meeting in Ibadan, Oyo State last year May insisted on state police.
Even when the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Alkali Baba, visited him in Asaba, he said that community policing could only work better with the cooperation of citizens.
Okowa stated when he received the IGP on a courtesy visit at Government House, Asaba, disclosing that the Community Security Corps is on ground in the state to work in partnership with the police for effective crime prevention.
The governor said that there was a need for joint effort to tackle security challenges in the country, and explained that “in Delta, we are thankful that the collaboration is real and it’s helping us to achieve results, and we hope it continues”.
He said that there was a need for proper funding of the police with logistics and equipment to enable the force to be more confident in its work, especially when combating criminal elements.
He advised that the IGP should interact more with different stakeholders with a view to bridging the gap between the Police Force and the people, adding that lack of citizens’ trust in the police requires that your office interact more with different stakeholders with a view to bridging the gap between the Nigeria police and the people.
“It is our prayer that you will continue to work hard and partner with other sister security agencies to ensure that Nigeria gets more and more peaceful in the days ahead. If we are able to fund the police to provide for more data and extensive intelligence-gathering, the more likely we are to achieve faster results.
“Community policing can only work better with the cooperation of the people, and in Delta, we are in the process of completing the enactment of a law that will establish
Also, Traditional Rulers in Delta state urged all communities in Delta State to immediately activate their local security apparatus and be ready and prepared to ward off any form of threat to peace and security in their area.
The chairman of Delta Traditional Rulers Council and Obi of Owa, Dr Emmanuel Efeizomor 11, while decrying the heightened insecurity across the country, the monarchs called on the Federal authorities to Stakeholders in Osun State have expressed disappointment at the claim by Buhari that state police is not an option to the prevailing insecurity in Nigeria.
But the Osun State government said in anticipation of the president’s position it had joined hands with its South West counterparts to float a security outfit coded “Amotekun” to assist security operatives in securing the state.
Speaking, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Ismail Omipidan said the government will not fail in its responsibility to secure lives and properties in the state.
He noted that the security outfit has been alive to its responsibilities within the ambit of law adding that it will continue to receive adequate support from government.
Speaking with our correspondent in Osogbo, a Human Rights activist, Comrade Waheed Lawal urged the president to rethink on the issue.
He noted that Nigeria is ripe for state police especially with the daunting security challenges being faced across the country.
According to him, the President seems to be living in the past when traditional rulers can secure their domain, adding that criminality has gone haywire and deserves urgent professional and communal policing.
A retired police officer, who wished to be addressed simply as Pa Adegoke said the president may have his reason to reject the establishment of state police.
He, however, said that for whatever reason he is rejecting it as an option to addressing the security challenges in the country, there is need for every state of the federation to have their own security outfits to complement what the federal police are doing.
“Though I understand that the federal government has resolved to recruit 10 thousand constables every year or every two year but this is not enough to police a country of over 200 million population.
As of now, the country is said to have about 370 thousand police personnel grossly inadequate to secure every nook and cranny of Nigeria.”
He added that there should be state police who will be closer to the people in their neighborhood, thus making the job of securing every community easier.
When contacted to speak on President Muhammadu Buhari’s rejection of state police and other arrangements the government is making to bridge the policing gap in the states, the Commissioner for information, Mr Akinbowale said he has to seek the opinion of the state governor on the issue before he can speak to the press.
Permanent Secretary, Special services, Governor’s Office Calabar, Dr. Alfred Mboto, while reacting on President Muhammadu Buhari rejection of establishment of state police which state governors across the country had been pushing for state that Cross River government would not do anything that would create problems for the federal government as far as rejection of establishment of state police is concerned.
According to Mboto, “If the president has refused to allow the state government opportunity to establish its own state police saying it’s not an option, so be it.
Mboto who agreed that the Cross River State government would dump the plan said, “We will agree with him.”
“I support Mr. President’s idea of rejecting that option, because even if that concept which we were about building was to be built, wasn’t it wouldn’t have made whatever that could have been called state police.
“This is because the federal government would have still been in control of all nooks and crannies despite the fact that state police would have empowered us as a government to secure our lands,” he maintained.
On the issue of arrangements to be put on ground by Cross River state government to block the policing gap in the states, Mboto averred that it was the reason why the state government under the watch of Prof. Ben Ayade, set up an agency ( a security outfit called Operation Akpakwu) to block the gaps.
He said it’s the reason why it’s security outfit is at present networking with the traditional rulers and other stakeholders in almost all the villages across the three senatorial districts to ensure that the entire state is secured.
Mboto advocates for human security where everyone is empowered and provided an opportunity to get themselves engaged in one trade or the other so as they can take care of themselves stressing that an ideal mind is the devil’s workshop.
In his reaction on the issue, Chief Executive Officer/Founder of Andronicis Children’s Village Ikom, Chief Collins Ayok, stated that although the idea of state police would have been a lofty one except for the fear that governors might high-jack the entire policing structure and begin to victimize citizens who they might have fallen out with.
Also Speaking on the issue, former Cross River State deputy governor, Barr. Efiok Cobham, stated that considering the level of insecurity in the country, establishment of state police would have been a welcome development as the only people to identify and fish out lawless individuals are grassroot one and not police officers posted from outside to secure the communities and entire state
The immediate past governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, it could be recalled adopted the existing Nasarawa State Youth Empowerment Scheme (NAYES) by co-opting personnel of the scheme into Community Policing.
The current governor when he assumed office on May 29,2019 sustained the community policing of his predecessor.
Over 200 NAYES were trained in Benue state for the constabulary police who are answerable to the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG).
The state commissioner of information, culture and tourism, Yakubu Mohammed Lawal who was just a few weeks in office lacks information on state police when asked whether the state government will sustain the state police.
The SSG could not be reached on Monday morning, as his aide said he directed that only those on appointment will see him.