Afenifere Faults Rejection of State Police by House

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Deji Elumoye

The Pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has flayed the rejection of the amendment to the 1999 constitution for the creation of state police by the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

Afenifere, in a release issued on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, expressed utter regret and disappointment over the rejection of an amendment to the 1999 Constitution that would have enabled willing States in Nigeria to establish thier own police force.

According to the group, the rejection of the proposed amendment by some members of the House of Representatives Committee on Constitution Review has reinforced the notion that most of the members are not in the National Assembly to serve the best interests of majority of Nigerians.

It said the feeling across the length and breadth of Nigeria today is to take every legitimate step to combat the unprecedented security challenge the country is facing today.

“As is well known, one of the best means of combating such challenges is to design measures that may be unique – from one area to another. The peculiar security challenge we have presently demands the formulation of local strategies to compliment that of the central government.

“In this particular case, State and Local Government Police are very necessary if we truly want to overcome the challenges of insecurity especially that of banditry and terrorism.

The group commended Hon Onofiok Luke from Akwa Ibom state for proposing the amendment to section 214 of the 1999 Constitution to enable States to have power to set up State Police.

The Pan Yoruba organisation also commended the 10 other members of the House that voted in support of the amendment while it frowned at the 14 Members who voted against the amendment.

The amendment sought by Hon Onofiok was to move section 214 (c) of the Constitution from the exclusive list to the concurrent list. That way, the Constitution would empower “both the national assembly and houses of assembly of states to legislate on police and other security matters”.

But at the House Committee sitting on Wednesday January 26th, 14 legislators voted against the amendment while 11 lawmakers voted in favour.

Afenifere stated that with the number of lives that have been lost to terrorists in the country, including lives of some lawmakers, it could not be defended at all, that the lawmakers would throw away the golden opportunity to put criminality in Nigeria in check.

The group stressed that by this rejection, impression is being created that some well placed people are deriving pleasure from the unwarranted loss of lives, properties and territories that are now the hallmark of our daily living.

“Such people however needed to be reminded that terrorism, at some point, may not have respect for even those who brought it into being”.

Afenifere further stressed that it is not too late for the lawmakers to retrace their step on this matter while calling on the Upper Chamber to uphold the proposed amendment and to prevail on the Lower Chamber to do the same as it happened in the case of the amendment to the Electoral Act.