Chief Edwin Clark
By Chuks Okocha
Elder statesman and leader of Ijaw nation, Chief Edwin Clark, has slammed advocates of state police, saying that the governors will use the security outfit as thugs to intimidate perceived political opponents.
Also, Clark said that it was curious that some states that are yet to pay the minimum wage of N18,000 are among the advocates of the creation of state police.
He wondered where they would get money to fund state police, including the remuneration, purchase of arms and ammunition and other necessary logistics.
According to the elder statesman, in an exclusive interview with THISDAY, “I don’t believe in state police, even though it is an essential ingredient of democracy. Nigeria as of today is not developed democratically to the
extent of having a state police.
“The way the state governors behave has not made it necessary to have a state police. Some of the governors behave like dictators and there is this fear that they will use the state police for their political interests such as political thuggery,” Clark said.
Referring to the book written by Alhaji Tanko Yakkasai, Clark said it was an eye opener on how the state police was abused in the country between 1953 and 1954 when it was in existence.
He said, “In the book, Tanko Yakassai gave a vivid account of how the local police was abused by the Emirs in harassing and intimidating members of the NEPC. They were persecuted and beaten up. The local police was notorious and therefore this is not the time to have the state police.
“The governors are the chief security officers of their respective states and with state police, they will acquire the powers of life and death, where they will use the it at their beck and call to intimidate and cajole their political enemies. At the right time, when the democratic practice is matured, state police can be introduced, but certainly not now. I will rather advocate the reformation of the Nigeria Police,” he explained.
Clark queried whether the state governors that are crying over their inability to pay the minimum wage of N18,000 will be able pay the police, where the least paid police officer is not less than N30,000.
He said a state like Lagos needs not more than 100,000 police officers, wondering where the state will get the money to pay the state police, which is an additional burden to the state, in terms of extra expenditure.
“How can the states that are still unable to pay the minimum wage be able to manage the burden of state police? State police means provision of uniforms, provision of arms and ammunition, provision of vehicular and logistics needs. This means extra funds, where will the states get the money from, when in actual sense some of them are yet to pay and implement the minimum wage bill of N18,000,” he said.