The issue of state police, one the cardinal parametres of a true federalism took a giant step to become reality with its endorsement by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
This was disclosed yesterday by the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari at the closing session of the two-day National Security Summit, organized by the Senate.
According to the Governor, the establishment of state police was the only solution to the current escalated security challenges in the country. He emphasized the deficiency of the police by arguing that the ratio of the present police force to the population of the country was inadequate and below international standard.
He also noted that since all the states might not have the financial capacity to run state police, the states that could afford it should go ahead and do so while the Federal Government should redeploy some federal police to the financially disadvantaged states.
“The first primary responsibility of government anywhere in the world is to ensure that the lives and property of citizens are protected; and there have been so many challenges in Nigeria for the past 10 years ranging from Boko Haram, cattle rustling, armed banditry, militancy in the Niger Delta dwindling the economy and even threatening the unity of the nation. “The take home from this summit is that the Vice President raised some of the key discussions about the issue of state police.
The state police is something we have agreed on during the constitutional amendment, but at a later time when the Forum divided into two, some governors played to the gallery, which is unfortunate. “Today, we have reiterated the position of the Vice President on the security summit we held in August last year, that there is a need for state police. And we can say it is only the answer. The police of today are inadequate; so if we look at the ratio, it is far below international standard.
Therefore, we in the Forum agreed that we can find a way that we can fine-tune the issue of state police.” On the inability of every state to maintain a state police. “That is why we are saying that it is not all the states that are supposed to have state police.
Those that can, can have it. For instance, Lagos State, as rich as they are, can have state police. “For the federal police in Lagos, they can reduce the number and give to Osun, Ogun and other states that cannot do it. If Rivers State can afford it, the number of federal police can be redeployed to Cross River and other neighbouring states like Enugu that cannot do it”.
If Kano State can do it, they can take to my state that is not all that rich. It is something that we can’t take up at the same time and land at the same time,” Yari said.