SportsDay - Africa's Elite Sports Daily
A place where you need to follow for what happening in world cup

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

State police not negotiable, says Jonathan

0 21

- Advertisement -

Vice President Kashim Shettima and former president Goodluck Jonathan on Monday, April 22, spoke on the need to focus on the workability of state police in the country and address concerns about the likely abuse of the process.

Also, former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar warned politicians not to exert undue influence on the state police when eventually adopted by the country, while canvassing a role for the traditional rulers in addressing the security challenges in the country.

They spoke at a national dialogue on state police with the theme “Pathway to peace: Reimagine Policing in Nigeria” organised by the House of Representatives as part of efforts to pass the state police bill currently before the House.

The vice president who assured of the commitment of President Tinubu’s government to addressing the security challenges in the country said the President was waiting for the recommendations from the dialogue.

- Advertisement -

He said the interest of the House on the issue of state policing underscores their commitment to the security and wellbeing of the Nigerian citizens, adding that the dialogue was not only timely but also speaks to the commitment of the legislative arm in addressing critical national issues through inclusive and collaborative governance.

He said further: “This government under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is acutely aware of the complex security issues that abound in places. As such, we are continually developing and reminding strategies and methods to address these challenges effectively.

“Today’s dialogue is critical to these efforts. Providing a platform for robust discussion and innovative thinking regarding the reform of our policing structure. The President deserves commendation for his openness and proactive stance towards the idea of reforming and decentralising the police force.

‘The President believes that the path to effective security is through adaptive reforms catering to our diverse people and circumstances. This can only be achieved by carefully reviewing various options in the Nigerian context.”

- Advertisement -

He also stated that this inclusive approach to addressing the security challenges will guide the nation towards a policing system that is most effective and respectful of the citizens.

He said: “It gladens my heart that the 10th House of Representatives under the speaker Tajudeen Abbas has keyed into this initiative. The involvement of the legislature in executive reforms ensures continuity and synergy. Let us use this opportunity to engage, with the seriousness it demands.

“The president is committed to listening to your recommendations and insights invariable to share in the policies that would lead us to a more secure and good society.

“The concept of state policing is not merely a policy for the proposal but a potential milestone of revolution of our law enforcement framework. It offers the possibility of catering to the diverse needs of our communities.

- Advertisement -

“As vice president, I am deeply interested in the outcomes of today’s discussions. The insights would inform our administration’s approach to supporting legislation and enhancing the capacity of our police force but also strengthen the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the public.”

While deliberating, the Vice President said, stakeholders should consider the implications of state policing from multiple perspectives by paying attention to response time to emergencies, adapting to specific local challenges, and increasing accountability.

He stressed that the nation must also address concerns related to the standardization of training, oversight, and the safeguarding of our civil liberties and see the dialogue as an opportunity to listen, understand, and focus on solutions.

He said: “It is essential that this forum is not the end, but the beginning of an ongoing conversation on the issue of police and security sector reform in our country. The theme of today’s event is a pivotal aspect of our national discourse. It reflects a collective recognition of the need for a more localised, responsive and effective law enforcement framework”.

The vice president said further that the nature of the stakeholders gathered for the dialogue underscores the comprehensive approach to ensure that diverse perspectives are integrated into the policy-making process.

He said: “As we continue today’s sessions I urge participants to engage with openness, honesty, and insight. The value of this gathering lies in the ability to harness advice and constructive reasoning and suggestions from all quarters. Your contributions today are not merely academic, but theoretical discussions on the transformative reforms we aspire to implement.

He stressed the readiness of the President to support and implement meaningful recommendations that would emerge from the dialogue, stressing the commitment of the administration of President Bola Tinubu to reform the police force and enhance security.

He said the outcome of the deliberations would guide the government’s actions towards reforming the institution of the police and achieving a safer and more secure Nigeria.

- Advertisement -

Former President Goodluck Jonathan said the issue of state police was no longer negotiable as it was a done deal, saying there was no way the state could have adequate security without state police.

He said some states in the country have successfully experimented with the issue or state police even during the current democratic dispensation, adding that what should be of concern at the moment is the operational model the system would take.

Jonathan said: “The issue today is very critical. One thing is that we don’t need to debate whether we should have state police or not. I think that matter has been concluded. The issue is the operations of the police.

“I was a governor. I operated at the state level for eight years as deputy governor and the governor and got to the centre, vice president, and President for another eight years. I know that in Bayelsa and other states that attempted to have some element of security, the issue of state Police worked very well.

“In Bayelsa State, when we took over, the state was almost ungovernable. Abdulsalami would remember that when elections were to be conducted in December 1998, the security situation was so bad that our elections were pushed to January 1999.

“When we took over, the state was in crisis. Niger Delta agitation was there. The criminal elements were also operating in the creeks and were causing issues for market women and others until Alamieyesigha then the governor, set up the Bayelsa volunteers that worked with the police.

“We built stations around parts of the creeks. and the boys volunteered to work with the police and that brought the situation down. So there is no way we can manage internal security if states would not have their police.

“But how would the state police function vis-a vis the national security architecture?

When I set up the 2014 national dialogue, we had lots of challenges in the country. People were agitating in so many areas. But one thing that the almost 500 delegates agreed upon without much ado was the issue of state police.

Read Also: Yoruba Nation: Sunday Igboho, Akintoye call for negotiation meeting with FG

“When that issue came up, everyone supported the issue of state police. So we cannot move away from state police.

“The issue of state police was accepted; the issue of national border force was also accepted and the issue of coast guard was also accepted. So, the national assembly, while debating or conducting public hearings on state police, these issues of national border force must be considered.

“Yes the immigration and customs carry out border controls, but they cannot play the role of national borders force. When we have a national border force, we will be able to contain these enemies.

“Also the customs and immigrants also carry weapons but they may not have been sufficient to confront these criminals. I was in the customs for two years before I entered the university and the training given to us was not enough to confront the criminals. so these issues must be integrated with the issue of state police.

“We are not going to waste our time debating whether we should have state police or not because we operated it before. The military scrapped it because of the abuse and that is the area we should concentrate on.

“How do we manage the state police so that it would not be abused by state political actors? If state political actors are abusing the state police and using the state police to harass and make life miserable for people who do not belong to their political parties, would the commander-in-chief sit down and watch or would he order the military to go and overrun the state police, of course, that would bring crisis.

Jonathan said the key areas that have to be debated are how to run the state police visa is the national security architecture of the country, adding that these things need to be done carefully.

He said: “There are so many countries that have this. We have also experimented before, during the first republic, and the relevant committee would travel to these countries and understudy them. Because it is very critical.

“So if we are talking about State police, we must also rejig INEC and the police must not be used against or to the advantage of any political party.

“The issue of the voting, the polling booths of INEC use during elections has to be reviewed by the national assembly.

“The issue of the need for states to have their own police is not negotiable. There is no way we can continue this kidnapping that is going on in this country.

“Commercial kidnapping started around 2006, I don’t want to into that history when I was governor. But it started in the Niger Delta. Now it is all over the country. The only thing that can help us if we cannot stop it completely at least reduce it to the barest minimum is for states to have their own police.

On equipment for the police, he said: “Sometimes, people say the state police should have limited weapons, that the calibre of weapons they should have should be limited. That is an area that must also be cleared, we must be careful with it.

“I am not expecting states to have rockets, missiles, but the conventional weapons if you look at the calibre of weapons criminals use, the states must have superior weapons or at least equal. If you make the states have weapons that are inferior to the ones that the criminals are using, then you are asking them to commit suicide in the field.

“So we must not even go there in terms of limiting the capacity of the state police.  A state that has enough resources must equip the police very well and that state can also assist other states that have challenges.

“It is a national challenge and if you don’t help crush the problem of other states, those criminal elements will one day come to your state. So the states should come together and work together. That is the best way we can protect this nation, and Nigerians and everybody who has anything to do with Nigeria will live in peace”

Let us make a role for traditional rulers, Abdulsalami

Also speaking, former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar said as the nation was working on the possibility of having a state police system, efforts should also be made to give the traditional rulers a constitutional role because of their important role in addressing security challenges.

“Nigeria has been having a rough ride for the last ten years or so in insecurity. I want to thank President Jonathan for what he has said. Why I have not brought up any paper, is because he has taken the wind out of my fear. I want to thank you for that elaborate speech you made.

“All I will add is that, in order to make peace and security in any nation, the governance must be transparent, honest, accountable, and all that it takes to make citizens comfortable to go on their daily business to earn their legitimate earnings.

“Again, having said that, the citizens of any country have got citizen responsibility and that responsibility is to ensure the maintenance of peace and order and this can be done by upholding the Constitution, laws and orders, and regulations.

“Not only that, citizens should not vandalize any property or establishment provided by the various governments. It is our responsibility to be each other’s keepers and ensure that, there is equity and the maintenance of issues provided by the various governments.

“Indeed, our royal fathers have a lot of responsibilities in ensuring the maintenance of peace and order. As a young child growing up in a rural community, we see the role of these royal fathers in the various arms in the quote “of their governments”, where when a stranger enters a village, within hours, the village head knows about that stranger and through their means of communication, the Emir is aware.

“I think, as much as we are talking of establishing State Police, we should also look into the role vis-a-vis of our royal fathers.

“President Jonathan has mentioned the relationship of what I was to say to say to politicians vis-a-vis the local police if we decide to have them. It is necessary for politicians as much as possible to avoid exerting influence on the ways the police are going to operate if at all we agree to have the police.

“Although President Jonathan has already concluded that it’s the operational standards that we are going to discuss. I think we must really give it a thought to have to operationalize these police if we decide to have them”.

But Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun said the country was not ripe for state police as it will create command and control problems with multiple chains of command in the states.

He also expressed fear that state police will become a political tool in the hands of state governors, adding that the establishment of state police will exacerbate ethnic tension, leading to divided loyalty in the states.

Represented by AIG Ben Okolo, the Inspector General of Police said the establishment of state Police will also lead to multiple command structures in the states.

He also said that state governors are likely to abuse the privilege of state police by using it for political gains, leading to possible abuse of power and abuse of human rights.

He argued that the state government’s lack thereof required funding that would give birth to the type of policing that the nation requires.

Rather than establishing state police, he recommends the merging of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Federal Road Safety Commission to form a department in the Nigeria Police Force.

He also said there is a need for yearly recruitment of about 30,000 police personnel into the force annually to meet the UN requirements for modern policing, while also increasing annual budgetary allocation to the police.

- Advertisement -

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

- Advertisement -

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More