Security Experts, CSOs Back Endorsement of State Police by 36 Assembly Speakers

*Say legislation imperative to address country’s challenges 

*Allay fears of hijack by governors

Sunday Ehigiator

Some security experts and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have applauded the backing of the creation of State Police by 36 State Assembly Speakers.
The security experts and CSOs in separate interviews with THISDAY, argued that creation of State Police would go a long way to address some of the country’s security challenges.
On Thursday, the Speakers of the Houses of Assembly across the 36 states in the country backed the ongoing constitution review exercise for the creation of state police.

The Speakers, under the aegis of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria, disclosed this in a communique issued at the end of their meeting in Abuja.
Commenting on the development in an interview with THISDAY, Major General Obashina Ogunbiyi (rtd), noted that it was a good step in the right direction.
According to him, “I think it is a good step in the right direction because the people have been clamouring for that and in terms of aiding the security of the community, this is very important.

“As I said in my last discussion with you, if parts of the community are recruited as policemen, it would go a long way in improving the security architecture of the state. This is because they are more familiar with people in the community and know who is who. It will aid in the dispensation of security for each state.”
On the fear of abuse, he reiterated that State Governors need to think more about the security and safety of their state which is far bigger than politics, if the state police must achieve its purpose.

“However, if we have honest leadership at the State level, that should not pose a challenge as such. But the advantages override the disadvantages.”
Also speaking with THISDAY, Comptroller (Rtd), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Zone A, Lagos State Border Patrol Command, Chukwuemeka Patrick Pius Obua said, “That is the way to go.”

According to him, “At this moment in the security architecture of Nigeria, the creation of state policing is imperative, we should have done it yesterday and that’s the way we can get a high level of security.
“You bring in somebody who doesn’t understand the language, culture and nitty-gritty of his environment he won’t be able to even source for intelligence. If the people are speaking a language he doesn’t even understand, how will he know what they are talking about for him to be able to source for intelligence?
“Anybody serving his state will have a greater desire to fight and protect his state because he has things to lose, but if you bring someone from Borno for instance, to police Ogun State, he will think about his family in Borno and won’t put in his all but if you put an Oyo man in Oyo State, his family is there and he is from there.

“He won’t only protect himself but his family too. He has his back to the wall. The Borno man doesn’t have his back to the wall; the back of his wall is in Maiduguri so the desire to pay the supreme price will not be there.”Speaking on the tendency of it being hijacked for political gains by state governors, he said, “The issue of Commissioner of Police not taking orders from the CEO who we know as governors will be minimised.
“If we talk about the issue of politicians hijacking the force and using them for themselves, what about the one we have now? Don’t they abuse it too? That’s why they talk of federal might and they use it to oppress people.

“Let me tell you why State policing will be different: Yes, the politicians will try to use it for themselves but they are all indigenes of that State. If you ask them to go and kill people in a particular place, you may be telling someone to go and kill his father and mother.
“Also, the issue of bribery and corruption will be reduced because if I go and mount a toll gate in my hometown, the people I am likely to extort money from are my uncles, aunties, brothers, family members and they will not take it lightly with me but if you are talking to a Yoruba man in Imo State, a Jukun man in Abia State, a Kanuri man in Oyo State, he has nothing at stake so these are the issues.

“There is no way we can compare state police to the federal police we have now. Don’t forget the structure we have now was inherited from colonial masters yet it is structured to protect the colonial masters so these are the issues.”
Also giving his views on the development, the Founder of the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), Okechukwu Nwanguma, noted that if the state police were established, the federal police could be used to check the excesses of the States.

According to him, the state security outfit will handle little crimes while the federal police will handle big crimes.
“The federal police can maintain the Nigeria Police while the states can have a security architecture that is unique to the state.”

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