Mr. Ayo Opadokun
National Coordinator of Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reforms (CODER), Mr. Ayo Opadokun, Thursday described the recommendation of the Parry Osayande-led Presidential Panel on the Re-organisation of Police, that the Ministry of Police Affairs be scrapped as an insult to the president.
Opadokun who made this submission while briefing journalists in his law chamber, said Osayande’s description of the ministry as a “drain” on the Nigeria Police and a “haemorrhage,” was a “gratuitous insult to the president,” whom he said is empowered by Section 215, sub-sections 3 and 5 of the constitution to assign responsibilities subject to National Assembly’s approval.
Describing the recommendation as uncalled for, Opadokun said what was required for the effectiveness of the Police Force was for the various federating units to have their own system of policing.
According to him, doing so will enable them to have power of coercion to enforce their laws, bye-laws, gazettes or edicts, saying the report was a further attempt by retired police officers “to protect their expansive territories that turned them into despots and multi-billionaires.”
He slammed the committee and the retired inspectors general of police over their claims that state police would lead to Nigeria’s disintegration, remarking that it was rather a furtherance of the retired police officers’ selfish agenda which he said made too much of money available for them.
He argued that security in saner climes was a local affair within a certain geographical entity adding that only security that has to do with the protection of territorial integrity of a country can be centralised.
He recalled that the United States whose constitution Nigeria adapted does not only have federal police, state police and local government police but also goes beyond that to make provision for motor parks’ police, who according to him police the motor parks.
Opadokun also remarked that insinuations that the state governors will abuse the state police is a deceit and only “being clever by half,” since no individual will be governor forever adding that it is regrettable that governors and state legislatures make laws but lack the power to enforce them since they are not in control of police.
He also said despite the continued decision to centralise the police, state governors spend much of their meagre resources to fund the police while they lack power to instruct them. He described the trend as the deceit that the former IGs and Osayande’s panel want to continue.