Lalong, Uzodinma Insist on State Policing, Seek Mechanism to Check Abuse

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Simon Bako Lalong

James Emejo

Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong and his Imo State counterpart, Hope Uzodinma, yesterday reinforced their belief in the establishment of state policing architecture to subdue the lingering security challenges at the sub-national governments.

They also called for appropriate checks to ensure that state governors do not take undue advantage of state police against their political rivalry.

Both spoke during an interactive panel session on “Removing the Binding Constraints to Security: The Submational Perspective” at the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#27), themed:”Securing the Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now”.

Both had also narrated how they were able to manage the volatile security situations in their respective states.

Lalong said Plateau was inaccessible at the period he assumed office, adding that he was able to restore normalcy within three months while peace reigned for about six months before the security degenerated lately.

He said past administrations had capitalised on ethnic segregation to pursue selfish objectives.

Lalong said the 53 ethic nationalities in the state were brought together through peace building initiative adding that to achieve unity, “you must address the feelings of the people”.

He blamed the collapse of early warning mechanisms which he said his administration is currently working to revive.

Among other things, he said the governors had made a recommendation to President Muhammadu Buhari to allow for a state police structure.

We need recruitment

He said,”We must address security as quickly as possible.”

He also decried the centralisation of the police, lamenting that the surveillance drones acquired by the state to boost security had been unusable for lack of end user certificate.

To douse religious and ethnic tensions, Lalong said conflict sensitive policies that won’t exacerbate tensions should be pursued.

He said community engagement and investment in early signs were critical to maintaining peace.

However, Uzodinma, who was represented by the Imo State Deputy Governor, Placid Njoku, said

despite the security challenges in the state, it remained peaceful.

He said: “Imo State is safe and we are determined to ensure it is safe.”

He said there had been security challenges associated with contending groups in the state adding that the recent escalation indicated there was more to the sitiation.

He said the government was working to identify those behind recent attacks and get to the root cause of the disturbance.

Uzodinma said the security upheaval in the state was “about foundations laid in Imo state.”

He stressed the need for a state structure adding that federal police must give way to state police structures.

He said: “Nobody will go to his own community to destroy the police

It’s time for state police now from what’s happening.”