Chairman of the Northern Governors' Forum, Dr. Muazu Babangida
There is little doubt that the backtracking by the Northern Governors on the issue of state police, which they had jointly canvassed with their Southern counterparts on June 24 may have been fed by other factors beyond the pros and cons of state police, a local force which has become more imperative now than ever before. In a communique issued on June 24, this year, the NGF had urged the Federal Government to immediately consider the creation of state police in a bid to rein in the spate of violence and insecurity in the country. The governors even called for a special fund to fight insecurity in the North. But about a month later, the Northern governors sang a different tune. On Friday, July 27, at a meeting in Abuja, the Northern Governors changed their position.
They rebuffed the clamour for state police, saying the country was not ripe for it. Instead, they demanded that the federal police be strengthened. Why the sudden volte face? This is all about ethnic politics but truth is the raging violence is beginning to respect no ethnicity. It’s better we begin the process of correcting the wrong inflicted on the nation’s politics when a unitary command structure was foisted on us than wait until the wave of insecurity consumes the entire country. There is no gainsaying the fact that only a local police peopled by cops who live within the community can tame the growing violence unleashed on the same community by criminals and rascals some of whom are from the same community and live among them. Yes, state police can be open to abuse, just as federal police too is being subjected to abuse, yet we haven’t scrapped it.