Governor Rotimi Amaechi
Ernest Chinwo and Okon Bassey
The issues of resource control, fiscal federalism and state police topped the agenda as the people of Rivers State Wednesday held a one-day public session on the review of the 1999 constitution.
In Akwa Ibom State, the people of the state also took official position rejecting the establishment of State Police in the country, despite the state Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, strong case for its inclusion in the 1999 Constitution.
While Governor Rotimi Amaechi, in the lead presentation at the session, which took place at the Civic Centre, Port Harcourt, said security would improve in the country if the Constitution was reviewed to reflect a state police system, Akpabio on his part urged the citizens to adopt a common position by accepting the creation of State Police.
Speaking at the occasion, Amaechi said there was need for power devolution at the centre, and the reduction of the responsibilities on the Exclusive List, pointing out that Nigeria is the only federation with one central police.
According to Amaechi, “Other federations have federal, state, and local government police. In the US, counties have their own police… Somebody has to be responsible for the funding of the Nigerian police. The centre is too strong and Nigeria is the only federation that is still operating a central police system. All other countries have broken down their central police system.”
Meanwhile, Akpabio while speaking at the occasion, said: “It is easier to use indigenes of the state to police the state than to use outsiders. That is why we are pleading with Nigerians to reconsider the issue of state police so that governor can have the authority on the police.
“Senators, I think we should look at the issue of state police again to see if we could support it as a state. It is not really that the state police should be in my time. If we want to practise true democracy and bring security to our people we must realise that the current security challenges demand that we do something differently.”
The Uyo senatorial district of the state had during the senatorial review of the constitution rejected State Police, while the other two senatorial districts, Eket and Ikot Ekpene accepted the creation of State Police.
Leading opposition against the creation of State Police, an elder statesman in the state, Air Vice-Marshall, Nsikak Eduok (rtd.), argued the issue of state police should be threw into dust bin as only people who do not want the country to exist are championing the issue of State Police.