Last week, we commenced our discourse on this vexed and intriguing matter of the desirability or otherwise of having state Police. I have personally crusaded for state Police in the last two decades. Today, we shall shed more light on it.
Some opponents (continues and concluded)
They urge that the urgent need of our time is simply to have a Police Force that is professional both in outlook and content; a reform that is targeted at addressing structural, institutional and attitudinal challenges. Few of these pressure areas, they argue, are those that relate to recruitment, nature and content of the curriculum and internal discipline. The training manual must be civilian -friendly and 21st century-compliant, especially as regards the human rights content. For recruitment purposes there must be a deliberate policy to undertake an effective background checks, argued Professor Cyril Ndifon of the University of Calabar, who believes it is a case of “garbage in, garbage out”.
Dr. Samson S. Ameh (SAN) adds his voice: “We should maintain the Nigeria Police on the exclusive legislative list of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999. The idea of having a state police is a good one but the time is not ripe for it yet. We should remember that Nigeria started as a British colony, indeed a creation by a foreign power and thereby any institution like the Nigeria Police which emphasizes our image as a nation, as one country should be encouraged for now.
Nella Andem-Rabana, SAN, forcefully argues that: “Unless Nigeria thinks through the necessary amendments/provisions to be made with regard to the following: (a) 2011 Constitution (as amended) (b) the Revenue Allocation Formula; and (c) infrastructure, and until it puts into effect those amendments for effective state policing it may not be expedient to whimsically dismantle the existing police structure.
“The fact that the Nigerian Police Force is under the command of the IGP, an appointee of the President of the Federal Republic, means that all Commissioners of Police report directly to him and have limited powers/authority to make on-the-spot or far reaching decisions and in maintaining and securing public safety and order. This is a constitutional matter, which must be expressly addressed in order to discentralise the Police Force.
“Also of constitutional significance, are matters such as purchase of fire arms, ammunition, explosives, banking, financial crimes, fingerprinting, identification and criminal records, all of which are on the Exclusive Legislative list in the 2011 Constitution (as amended). These matters should be put on the concurrent list to give states necessary and relevant powers to enable them prevent, investigate and prosecute such crimes independent of Federal police. This would give the Federal police the opportunity to concentrate on Federal crimes which would have by then been clearly determined such as, Interstate, cross-border crimes and national security issues”. She argues for strengthening the police to cope with current insecurity in the country requires optimal professionalism; the need for up-to-date technological and scientific expertise, robust and comprehensive criminal justice training especially in areas like psychology, forensic investigation, report writing, handwriting analysis, voice analysis, interrogation, negotiation, fingerprinting analysis, study of bomb composition and disposal, Cybercrime, deep sea diving etc. has to form part of the ongoing training program”, the purchase of hitec equipment, etc.
Yet, some others argue that creation of state Police is simply an invitation to anarchy, because even if we create state, LG, clan, community or family police, it is the same corrupt Nigerians and corrupted institutions they will manage. They remind us of the havoc Native Council and Emirate Police caused Nigerians during colonial times and the first Republic.
Chief John Ochoga notes that: “modern type policing began in London with the establishment of the Metropolitan Police by Sir Robert Peel in 1829, whereas the Nigerian police force started as a body to meet the British colonial needs. The Consular Guards was established in Lagos in 1861 and later by 1879 became the Hausa Constabulary, an armed force. Subsequently, there was the Northern Nigerian Police (1886), Royal Niger Constabulary (1888), The Niger Coast Constabulary (1894) and The Southern Nigerian Police Force (1906). By 1906, three distinct police forces existed in Nigeria. And in 1930 there were amalgamated thus the present name of The Nigeria Police Force.
“It is, therefore, clear that our colonial history produced our current policing status. We can therefore not separate our political development from our police force.
Nigeria’s 1966 political experience of coups, counter-coups, civil war and military regimes have made our democracy “a learning process”, even at the age of 53 years.
“In northern Nigeria, opposing politicians and their lawyers were detained at electoral/pooling unit to ensure nomination forms and documents were not filled against the ruling NPC (Northern people congress). Multi-party democracy was nothing but a big sham… The primordial nature of Nigeria still makes State Police an idea whose time has not come. Our leaders are still emperors in pretentious democratic garbs”.
Merits and demerits of having state police
Merits and advantages of state police
The following are considered by some schools of thought as the merits of establishing State Police Forces in Nigeria:
It will help curb the rising tide of insecurity, amongst other social vices in Nigeria; It will reduce the rate of unemployment, as more people would be recruited into the State Police in proportion to the population of each state; It will help check criminal activities and corruption within the Police Force and the society (Chief Chekwas Okorie as quoted by Bulus, 2012); It will curb the attitude of Policemen who hardly go to their states of origin to work, but go to other states which they consider lucrative to make money, even when they do not know the terrain of such states; State policing will prevent any attack and imposition of Islam or other ideologies in some states; It will reduce the financial burden on the central federal government; It will help abate the ugly trend of kidnappings and militancy in the Southern part of Nigeria; It is easier to operate close systems, shorter processes because of less loops, error percentage and you know your target (Mr Ekene Nwogbo quoted in Kehinde, 2013); It will help institute true federalism and localize/confine criminal activities. Every state knows its peculiar problems and challenges; It will help reduce corruption in the Police because in community policing, every citizen knows the Police officer up to his pedigree and genecology.
Next week, we shall take a critical look at the merits and demerits, the thesis, anti-thesis and the synthesis, of having state Police. I shall then give my firm conclusion, unapologetically.
When a hired mob failed to stop me from defending democracy in Nigeria (4)
I have, in nearly two months, dealt with the issue of how a rented crowd vainly attempted to prevent me from speaking at Gani’s memorial lecture. They are to be pitied. I had stepped down the series to treat emergent urgent national issues. I will today conclude these series on Gani and what he represented and still represents, by advising those hirelings and their pay masters who never knew the real Gani, to stop their profanity and wanton bastardization of his personae and history, through their surburned disgraceful acts when they vainly attempted to prevent me from speaking at his memorial lecture at Airport hotel, Ikeja, Lagos. They should be ashamed of themselves. They wanted to appropriate the endearing dignity and character of a man they never knew, never met in person and never worked with. They forgot, or deliberately ignored the fact that I was his Deputy Head of Chambers, his right hand man, his mentee and unapologetic disciple who, with all humility, has been carrying on his legendary good works to the best of my ability. They have been miffed that I have refused to join their adopted government of impunity to trample on the inalienable rights of the Nigerian people. They bellyache over my audacity in challenging the rampaging lopsided status quo. They can’t understand where I derive the courage from, to speak truth to authority, to challenge government excesses, to answer the questions and question the answers. They wonder why I leave no stone unturned and no turn unstoned in exposing the manifest duplicity, self contradictions, sheer hypocrisy, lies and propaganda of the present government that has failed in all indices of governance. Gani would have done all these and even more, if he were still with us. May Allah grant him alijarnahfirdausi. Thank you Transparency International for helping me out, that this government is the most corrupt since the Lugardian amalgamation of Nigeria on 1st January,2014. Thank you Amnesty International and African Human Rights Watch, for helping me to expose this government’s relentless trampling on the rights of Nigerian citizens and willful disobedience to court orders. Welldone World Bank, IMF and the London Financial Times for exposing lies and rubishing the fake economic data being reeled out by the government. Sorry, Dapchi girls for being victims of a clueless and insensate government, that wines and dines at political meetings over 2019 and at weddings few days after your mindless abduction. God will grant you safe return. Amen. Sorry, Agatu, Demsa, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Adamawa, Ondo, Edo, Delta, Benue, Plateu, Zamfara and other places where lives and properties are daily wasted. No thanks to resurgent and more potent boko haram, marauding herdsmen, insecurity, debilitating hunger, starvation, inflation, corruption, impunity nepotism cronyism and blatant misgovernance. God bless Nigeria. I rest my case.
Thought for the week
“The police are not here to create disorder. The police are here to preserve disorder”. HYPERLINK “http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quotes_by/mayor+richard+daley” (Mayor Richard Daley).