Against current security challenges in the country, the calls for the creation of state police in the country have become stridently deafening.
At the closing of the recent two-day summit on national security organised by the Senate, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had said “the creation of state police was the way to go” in view of the security challenges in the country.
This stand caught the attention of Reno Omokri who hailed the decision and saw it as a change of attitude of Osinbajo on the current realities in the society.
This is even as the clashes between farmers and herdsmen have heightened resulting in the death of many farmers coupled with the recent killings of more than 200 people in 11 communities in Plateau State by suspected herdsmen.
Omokri, a social media commentator, wrote Saturday in his Twitter handle “I commened VP, Yemi Osinbajo for declaring support for state police as a apanacea to the spate of killings in Nigeria
“The old Osinbajo is back. You can’’t call Governors Chief Security Officers if they have no police officers at their control.”
Recall that Osinbajo had noted “But for a country our size to meet the one Police man to 400 persons the UN required ratio, we will need to nearly triple our current police force, far more funding of the Police, far more funding of the military and other security agencies is required.
“We cannot realistically Police a country like Nigeria centrally from Abuja, State Police and other community policing methods are clearly the way to go,” he said.
Speaking with journalists at the NAF Centre Abuja venue, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, said governors called for the decentralisation of the country’s police.
He said, “The takeaway from this summit is that the Vice-President raised some of the key discussions on that day – 17th August, 2017 – about state police. Yes, the state police issue is something that we have agreed on in 2011 and 2015 during constitution amendments.
“Today, we have reiterated the position of the Vice-President and the position of the security summit that we held in August that there is the need for state police and we say it is the only answer.”
“Internal security is supposed to be handled and managed by the police but the police of today are inadequate. There are about four million people in Zamfara State but we have less than five thousand policemen. If you look at the ratio, it is far below international standards. Therefore, we, the governors, agree that we can fine-tune the issue of state police,” Yari added.
The governor dismissed the fear of possible abuse of state police by governors as raised by some of the participants. He said the judiciary had been operating freely under governors, which was an indication that state police would also grow under the control of the states.
Yari also noted the fears expressed by some states governors on the cost implication of having state police. He said the new system would be introduced in phases, starting with states that had the financial capability.
Also, Godswill Akpabio, the Minority Leader of the Senate, said most of the participants agreed on the decentralisation of the police.
He said the lawmakers might review the constitution to effect devolution of powers and accommodate state police.
He noted security had been centralised, adding that the population of the country had increased from 60 million in 1960 to 200 million, noting that “the number of policemen cannot police the entire country and provide security for Nigerians.
“Therefore, there is the need to decentralise that aspect and that comes under devolution of powers. We may need to review the constitution to bring security under the concurrent list of the legislature so that it will be easy for the states to set up something that will be in line with proper guidelines. State policing has been accepted by all and sundry. I have not seen anybody speaking against it. I think that is one major thing we can take out of this summit. The centralisation of the police can no longer work with the kind of population that we have today.”
Also, Senator Adamu Aliero, a former Governor of Kebbi State,said “Even the governors have agreed that state police is the way to go. It is quite consistent with what the Vice-President has suggested,” he said.