Group Canvasses For State Police, Says Federal Police Has Failed

A group under the aegis of Civil Society Task Team on Security and Electoral Reform (CSTTSER) has blamed the growing insecurity in the country on the failure of Federal controlled Nigerian Police Force (NPF). It there called for State Police as a way out.

The Coordinator of the Group, Mr. Ezenwa Nwagwu stated this yesterday in a press conference in Abuja, where he spoke on the rising state of insecurity in the country.

Nwagwu, who is also a delegate to the ongoing National Confab, said that the network was established as a voice against the rising cases of armed robbery, kidnapping, assassination and terrorism, “as a result of the failure of the federal police to effectively police the country”.

He said that the federal police has failed to lived up to expectation, and without security, individuals within the State would find it difficult to engage in productive activities.

“The security situation in Nigeria has deteriorated over time, there are increased cases of armed robberies, kidnapping, assassination and terrorism. The NPF has been unable to stem the tide of insecurity and increasing crime wave in the country. This has led to the agitation of State Police.

“The country is now divided along two lines: those who support the creation of state police and those are opposed to it, meanwhile, there is little discussion on a framework for the operation of state police that prevent abuse and ensure greater security for the country,” Nwagwu said.

According to him, the argument by the protagonists that State Police would be used to intimidate political opponents and used to rig elections was not tenable, as Nigeria during the first republic operated federal, regional and native or local administrative police.

Citing the examples of advanced countries like United States of America (USA), Canada and India that are operating both federal and state police and are doing so successfully, Nwagwu however explained that, “for the operation of State Police in Nigeria, there is the need to establish a State Police Service Commission made up of a Chairman who must be non-partisan and members drawn from interest groups such as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Media, Civil Society, Women, Nigeria Bar Association, (NBA) and the private sector”.

He added that the power of Governors could be limited to policies and appointment of the State Chief Executive of the Police and should not extend to operational use of the force.

“We cannot pretend we don’t have State police in one guise or the other, what we are just saying is to constitutionalise it. With State Police, there would be better security of lives and property and the barrier of language which is presently a problem would be dealt with”, he said.

The group however recommended among others that, the 1999 constitution should be amended to provide for State Police, and that the police force should be removed from the exclusive list and be placed on concurrent list to enable the establishment of State Police.

It also recommended that Federal Police Service Commission should set up standard and policies for the operation of State Police in the country, and that a proper framework for its operation should be adopted and implemented to prevent the abuse of State Police.