Nigeria Requires State Police Now, Ekweremadu Insists

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Ike Ekweremadu

By Deji Elumoye

The immediate-past Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has advised the federal government to look beyond the creation of Special Weapons And Tactical team (SWAT) to address the impunity in a unit of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF).

He, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to see the decentralisation of policing and institution of state police as the lasting solution to the impunity and shortcomings he is currently trying to fix in the federal police.

Reacting to the disbandment of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and setting up of SWAT, Ekweremadu, in a statement issued yesterday, regretted that the bill to amend the constitution to create state police, which he sponsored in the eighth Senate as well as the current Senate, had not received the required political support.

According to him, the federal government was still addressing the symptoms rather than the real illness.

He said: “The on-going street protests over the excesses of elements in the Nigeria Police did not come to me as a surprise. As a matter of fact, I had always known, and warned severally that a day would come when Nigerians would no longer tolerate the worsening insecurity in the land and the excesses of those charged with the responsibility of protecting lives and property.

“The problem with our policing and the attendant insecurity and excesses are engraved majorly in Section 214 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, which provides that: ‘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 for the federation or any part thereof’.

“Therefore, whether we call it SARS or SWAT, we will only be addressing the symptoms instead of the diseases, so we need to decentralise policing to allow citizens and the states to take charge of the security of lives and property of the people. This is the more reassuring way of addressing the mounting challenges of corruption, excesses, indiscipline, abuse, inadequate and poorly-motivated manpower as well as lack of equipment and security infrastructure currently bedevilling policing in Nigeria.”

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment added that one of the lessons from the #ENDSARS protest was that Nigerians could always engender the changes they desired if they acted as one.