– The Sun News

Having state police: The urgency of now (3)

Curtain call

I shall conclude our discourse on this vexed, but captivating issue of the need or otherwise of having state police, which I have personally crusaded for over the years. Today, I shall take a look at the demerits of having state police, having considered its merits last week, and give my firm conclusion, unapologetically. Thereafter, I shall consider some other trending national issues.

Demerits and disadvantages of state police

The following are considered by some schools of thought as demerits and disadvantages of establishing state police in Nigeria.

The system is susceptible to abuse by dictatorial state governors who wield enormous influence over their subjects; It is too costly and resources-consuming to maintain state police (Chief Parry Osayande, quoted by Bulus, 2012); State executives can use state police to harass and intimidate political opponents. State governors can abuse it to the detriment of their political opponents and opposition; It can lead to secession, where one powerful governor, considering his full control over security personnel and arms, would declare his own country (Nwachukwu, 2012); There is likelihood of conflict of jurisdiction between states, especially where the conflicting states are run by different political parties (Kehinde, 2013); The lack of uniformity in financing may also pose a great challenge to the establishment of state police forces in Nigeria. Some states are financially stronger than others. Some governors can be reckless by getting the money budgeted for and not financing it properly; It can lead to a diversion of criminals and criminality from one strong state with effective policing to another weak state with poor community policing; It will lead to anarchy and chaos, with no moderator appearing to be in control; state police will bring about tribalism, nepotism, cronyism and favouritism; There may be conflict of interest between the Federal Police Force and that of states; It is not financially feasible (Ahmed, quoted in Nwogu, 2012).

According to a report released on August 16, 2012, during President Goodluck Jonathan’s regime, by the Presidential Committee on Reorganization of the Nigeria Police and the Forum of Former Inspector-Generals of Police (IGs), they warned that the institution of state police in Nigeria would be a prelude to the disintegration of the country.

Even former IGPs that include Alhaji Muhammadu Gambo-Jimeta, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie, Mr. Sunday Ehindero and Sir Mike Okiro, have since argued that the clamour for state police was an invitation to anarchy, because it was not in the interest of the nation’s democracy. They argued that the most unreasonable thing for any administration to do at this time is to allow state police to exist, stressing that, with the current “political climate in our country, a state police would only be a tool in the hands of political leaders at the state level.”

My humble submission

Notwithstanding this powerful line of thinking, it is my humble submission that the current ratio of 1:602, which the Nigeria Police is operating on, is grossly inadequate and far below the United Nation’s ratio, notwithstanding the fact that about 10,000 police officers were recently recruited to fill the gap. This is still a far cry from the UN ratio of 222 policemen to 100,000 people, or 1:400. With this, to meet up with the UN ratio, the Nigeria Police requires additional 155,000 police officers for the next five years.

What with the ugly spectre that a large chunk of the officers and men of the NPF are attached privately to top elite, politicians, companies and moneybags.

Our argument for the desirability of state police is strengthened by the recent disclosure by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, at a recent public hearing on police reforms at the House of Representatives, that the police would require N1.13 trillion annually to effectively execute police operations.

He noted that the N560 billion recommended by the M.D. Yusuf-led Police Reform Committee in 2008 was a far cry from the current amount required to reposition the police.

He told the committee that fuelling of police vehicles alone annually requires an average of N26.9 billion, including maintenance costs. With these frightening requirements, why should the federal government alone be saddled with policing matters?

Conclusion

There is the clear and urgent need to have state police. It accords with common sense, modern trends and true federalism. We could still have a federal police, like the FBI, that deals with cross-border crimes, high-profile crimes, treasonable and drugs and narcotics matters.

Emerging criminal behaviours have necessitated the creation of state police to address the various needs of the police, including proper funding and staff strength.

State police would also bring security closer to the people, while making the people part of the new security arrangement.

Modern community policing appears to be the in-thing nowadays.

In any event, state police is not going to be created for any particular person, as there would be laws to regulate its operations. We cannot, because of fear of the unknown, resist an idea whose time has come. Now is the time for state police.

(The End).

Short takes

Brazen corruption and parlous economy: Buhari’s greatest Archilles heel

The Buhari administration has failed in many respects but has especially scored most abysmally in the areas of brazen corruption and our parlous economy. Where corruption was “democratized” under GEJ, it is now “privatized” under PMB. The gates are too many: “Maina-gate”, “Baru-gate”, “Babachir-gate”, “Civil Service-gate”, “Oil-subsidy-gate”, “Nepotism/Cronysm (appointments) -gate”, “Insecurity-gate”, “Dapchi-gate”, “Herdsmen-gate”, etc. Corruption struts around today like a proud peacock, strolling on its hands, legs, head and even buttocks. Where “corruption” among opposition and critics is strenuously fought with insecticides, herbicides and pesticides, real, brazen and naked corruption within and inside government circles is lovingly hugged, watered and serenaded with sweet-smelling sasarabia cologne. TSA and BVN, which the GEJ administration midwifed and birthed, have been messed up. Huge funds are quarantined off from TSA by government. Recovered loot is never accounted for, but instead re-looted. Recovered houses are sold to friends and cronies for peanuts. No one knows where recovered monies are kept, or what is happening to them.

Indeed, Transparency International has just rated Nigeria no 148 in the world, where nearby Ghana was acclaimed 81, out of 180 countries examined. Thus, Nigeria deteriorated by 28 points from her 2016 rating of 136.

Shamefully, Nigeria ranks 32nd position in Africa out of the 52 countries examined. In West Africa, only Guinea Bissau beat Nigeria as the most corrupt country in West Africa. Gosh!

On the economy, this government took Nigeria from an over $500 billion rebased economy (2015, IMF, World Bank) most prosperous economy in Africa, into recession. We are told we are now out of it. But it is only in theory. The reality on the ground paints a totally different picture. Prices of commodities and consumables have skyrocketed out of the citizens’ reach. Petrol now sells for N145 per litre, where it was only N87 in 2015. The naira exchanges for about N365 to the dollar, from N195 in 2015. Inflation has jumped geometrically. Hunger, despair, starvation, crime, melancholy and gnashing of teeth have overwhelmed Nigerians. Nigeria has never had it so bad. Not since the amalgamation of northern and southern protectorates by Lord Lugard to formulate Nigeria on 1st January, 1914.

It is now left for Nigerians to throw off this asphyxiating neo-colonial albatross and yoke of wholesome enslavement, by using their PVCs wisely in 2019.  It is just one year away. God bless Nigeria.

Nigerians are quite creative. Even in the midst of hunger and anger, they still crack your ribs with humorous but figurative expressions, satire, innuendoes, parables and proverbs.

Sambisa forest: Its usefulness

“686 square kilometers; 6.8 million hectares; 68 million plots of 100ft by 100ft. At five cows per plot, it can take 340 million cows; 340 million cows is 18 times the current number of cows in Nigeria. They have not told us what exactly they are looking for. But we know.” (Anonymous).

“To show that our government is really getting it wrong, the Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo, only recently, directed his country’s security forces to arrest any herdsmen seen parading cattle on the streets of Ghana and the cattle executed and barbecued by the citizens. He made a veiled insult to and mockery of Nigeria, by saying that Ghana is not Nigeria where the absurdity of cattle reigning over human beings is prevalent and tolerated.” (Samuel Ehis Irabor).

More hard & deadly times ahead: the cattle colonies

“The Nigerian government has decided to establish cattle colonies in every state of the country. Each colony will be five thousand hectares of land (5,000). Note that 1 hectare is a football field; 10 hectares is one square kilometer; 100 hectares is 10 square kilometers; 1,000 hectares is 100 square kilometers, i.e, 100,000m by 100,000m. And now 5,000 hectares is 500 square kilometers, i.e, 500,000 m by 500,000m. This is a stretch of 25 kilometers by 20 kilometers of land mass. This is the kind of land mass they want. Imagine parts of the land stretching from Zuba to Gwagwalada to Airport junction to kuje to AYA towards Nyanya to Bwari and environs. Do you know that many local governments’ land mass in Nigeria are smaller than one colony? Do you know that there is only one (1) cattle colony in the whole world? It is in Pakistan, near the town of Karachi.” (Anonymous).

Changing the narrative

“Initially, what we were told was that these are not herdsmen at all. Then, we were told that they are militias from Nigér Republic. Then Governor El-Rufai announced his government would pay compensation to the terrorists to pacify them so as to stop killing. Then later we were told that actually they are herdsmen, but they were provoked into killing the locals. Then we were told that their cows were stolen. Then we were told that it was actually Benue youths doing the killings, not the herdsmen. Then the herdsmen later boasted openly that they were the ones doing the killings, and said it was because of the grazing laws introduced by Governor Ortom. Then the herdsmen gave conditions for peace, otherwise they’ll continue slaughtering and massacring people, including men, women, the elderly, children and pregnant women with their unborn babies ripped open and foetus killed. Then the IG of Police said that it was just small communal clashes and misunderstanding, nothing more. Later, the IG apologized when the facts stared him in the face. Then the presidency blamed Atiku (his presidential ambition in focus). Then later the same presidency blamed Jonathan. Then some APC elements blamed PDP.” (Anonymous with some input from me).

Then, the president blamed IGP for not carrying out his orders. Then IGP blamed Governor Ortom.

“The number of people killed by herdsmen under Jonathan are more than the number of people killed by herdsmen under Buhari,” says Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman.

So why are you people complaining? Why not wait until the number killed under Buhari surpasses the number killed under Jonathan, the statement seems to suggest. What a country we are now in!

Thought for the week

“Corruption is a true enemy to development.” (Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj).

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