FG: Walk the ‘state police’ talk

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Taking into cognizance the high level of insecurity in our country today, amongst which include-kidnapping, armed robbery, herders’ terrorism and many others, it has become abundantly clear that current security arrangement, notably the policing system is no longer good enough to address the security challenges facing the nation.

As the security situation is currently, there is no way we can continue running the police as presently constituted.  As soon as possible, we should come up with a policy on community policing.

For the government to continue the old way of policing our country, we don’t think it can work and it is not working. We have to look at other parts of the world and learn how they are doing it.

It should be also noted that the fears of decentralization of the police which have been expressed in some quarters are unnecessary and could be addressed.It should be noted that the present policy of centralized policing has not served public interest since 1966 when the military authorities introduced unitary system.

That is why within the ongoing clamour for federalism in the country, there is a call for state police concept that the 2014 political conference report specifically recommends.

Since the ruling party now seems well disposed to state police due to the high level of insecurity in the land, the time to move in that direction is now. The public awareness in this regard should begin as soon as possible and the executive bill to that effect should be sent to the National Assembly.

It must be noted that the people are tired of listening to lamentations over the high level of crime and insecurity in the land. Indeed, if the ruling party can begin the issue of restructuring the country with the introduction of state police, there would be little doubt left over restructuring.

It is completely out of place that Nigeria is the only prominent member of the Forum of Federations that is maintaining a supposedly federal and only one police force to maintain law and order in a population of more than 180 million spread over 36 federating units.

In the United States for instance, the New York City police is one of the most respected internal security forces in the world in terms of operational efficiency. And it is the city government headed by a Mayor, not the state governor that funds and controls it.

This paper therefore calls on MuhammaduBuhari’s administrationto simply walk this state-police talk. Benefits that will accrue will include well-known faces within the communities. The police will frequently patrol the streets;interact with members of the public, noting complaints, intervening in minor arguments before they escalate to violent clashes.

The state police formations will be well equipped, well funded, well trained and well mannered. If the state has a population of 17 million, there are no fewer than 38,000 men to police the state. This is within the recommended UN ratio of one policeman to 450 citizens.

The states could even individually run the best police training academies in the country, well maintained, with the best hands forming part of the training staff.

The state police officers will take pride in the fact that their community, their town or city and their state, year after year, is consistently on the list of lowest crime rates in all of Nigeria. The state officers’ allegiance will be to the peace and security of the state, not to any political group or sitting government.

A state governor as the chief security officer of the state will also know that running a low crime state is attractive to investors and tourists and in the best economic interest of his state.  In addition, governors will come to realize that the people of their respectivestates are sure to vote them out in the next election should they fail to ensure the security of all citizens of their respectivestates.

 

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