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Do we really need a state police?
Creation of state police is an issue that is currently generating controversy in our dear nation.
While some governors, politicians and even some Nigerians have been calling for its creation, others are strongly opposed to its creation.
This writer is strongly opposed to the creation of state Police just as I am of the view that we don’t need new states now.
Having said that, I know that whatever has an advantage must surely have disadvantages, but I think the creation of state police in Nigeria would have more disadvantages than advantages.
For instance, some people who are calling for state police will argue that it will allow state governors to be in charge of security control of their respective states, since the commissioners of police will be answerable to them.
Also, with the creation of state police, citizens can easily identify and relate with police officer(s) since members of the body will be drawn from their immediate communities.
But our democracy is not yet ripe for this because some state governors may easily abuse the state police by turning it to political tool to fight members of the opposition.
They (governors) can also easily use state police to intimidate the electorate during election time, so that they can vote for them against the people’s wish.
Most importantly, state police can tear Nigeria apart instead of uniting us. One of the institutions that still unites us as one Nigeria apart from football, is the Nigeria Police Force.
The Boko Haram menace that has now become a thorn in our flesh is reported as getting the sponsorship of some of our past governors and other politicians, who sometimes used them as mercenary to win elections and later dumped them. Now, they have become everybody’s headache.
There are still other illegal groups in some of our geo-political zones like Bakassi Boys, OPC, Kalakato, MASSOB etc.
These groups are not working for the interest of our dear country but for their individual interest and for their zones or areas. Some members of these kangaroo groups can be recruited by some of our governors as state police.
And anyone of them can wake up one day and say it wants to break away from Nigeria and this can result in anarchy.
Another disadvantage of state police is that some of the states are not buoyant enough to fund it, as most of them only rely on federal allocations for their survival. And this can lead to frequent strikes, if the states cannot pay their salary as at when due. The result will not be palatable for our ailing security system.
I am also of the view that the President Jonathan should not unilaterally appoint Inspector-General of Police. Our 1999 Constitution, Third Schedule, Part1 Section 27, says: “The National Police Council shall comprise the following members:
(a) The President who shall be the Chairman;
(b) The Governor of each state of the Federation;
(c) The chairman of the Police Service Commission and
(d) The Inspector-General of Police.”
I hereby suggest that the Commission should not merely advise the president on the appointment of Inspector-General of police as prescribed by the Constitution but it must have a say in the appointment of IGP.
Mr President should not just wake up one day and fire the IGP and then unilaterally appoint a new one, without consulting the Nigeria Police Council, as if it is the custom of most of our past and present presidents.
Ajiboye John Tosin,
Osogbo, Osun State.