Bassey Inyang in Calabar
The federal government has declared the “Green Police” inaugurated by the Cross River State Government as an illegal and criminal outfit that violates the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
But the state government has disagreed with the declaration made by the police, saying the outfit was backed by a law enacted by the state House of Assembly with the aim of protecting the environment and create jobs for the people.
Yesterday, the Nigerian Police Force, an institution of the federal government declared that the inauguration of the Green Police by the administration of Governor Ben Ayade was an attempt to establish an illegal police organisation, an act forbidden by the Nigerian constitution.
Addressing journalists in his office, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Jimoh Obi-Ozeh, said the command would stop the Green Police from operating in the state because the Nigerian constitution recognises only one police force.
Quoting a relevant section of the constitution to buttress his position, the police boss said: “According to Section 214 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with amendment 2011, there shall be a police force for Nigeria, which shall be known as the Nigerian Police Force, and subject to the provisions of this section, no other police force shall be established.”
The commissioner said the police would not sit and watch the violation of any provision of the constitution under any guise.
“I am here to defend the constitution of the federal government and anything stated in the constitution. I need not wait for my Inspector General to carry out my duty if anyone is breaching the criminal aspect of the constitution. What I can do is to take action and brief my IG and that is the action I have taken. The constitution says there shall be no other police in Nigeria and I think Cross River State is part of Nigeria and I have taken action and I have briefed my IG.
“Green Police is an illegal organisation. It is against the constitution.”
Asked if the state government consulted with the police before inaugurating the Green Police, Ozi-Obeh said: “You can go and ask the state government, before you set up this organisation, didn’t you consult?”
However, speaking during a telephone conference on the development, the State Security Adviser, Mr. Jude Ngaji said: “The Green Police was established first for us to create jobs for our people and also backed up by a law by the state House of Assembly. We are not here to struggle superiority and make statements and counter statements.
“I have not been told by the commissioner that what we did was an illegality and we have no other intention than to create jobs and expand our government and also look for possible ways of preserving our greenery. We are preserving our forests and creating jobs which is the governor’s focal point when he assumed office and we have done so with all sense of responsibility.
“There is no intention that we are trying to form a parallel government with the federal government, and recognising Green Police instead of the constituted Nigerian Police. And the state Commissioner of Police is a friend of government and has been part of us. It is really amazing that he would take us to this level and rather address the press instead of having a perfect channel of reaching the government, especially at the level of formation. I am a bit surprised to hear this. I would leave it at that.”