Governors back state police

Few days after Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, gave the nod to creation of state police, governors of the 36 states have thrown their weight behind the move.

Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, on the sidelines of the National Security Summit organised by the Senate, in Abuja, yesterday, said  state police is the only solution to security challenges in the country.

Osinbajo had, last Thursday, said “for a country our size to meet the one policeman to 400 persons the United Nations required ratio, we will need to nearly triple our current police force… far more funding of the police, far more funding of the military and other security agencies is required.

“We cannot realistically police a country like Nigeria centrally from Abuja. State police and other community policing methods are clearly the way to go…”

Governor Yari, however, added a caveat.

He said only states who are financially buoyant should go for it and suggested that states that are financially disadvantaged, can have more federal police deployed to their states.

“The first primary responsibility of government, anywhere in the world, is to ensure that the lives and properties of citizens is protected. And, there have been so many challenges in Nigeria, for the past 10 years ranging from Boko Haram, cattle rustling, armed banditary, militancy in the Niger Delta dwindling the economy and even threatening the unity of the nation.

“The take-home from this summit is that the vice president raised some of the key discussions on August 17, 2017, about the issue of state police.

“State police is something we have agreed on, but, at a later time, when the Forum was divided into two, some governors played to the gallery, which was unfortunate.

“Today, we have reiterated the position of the vice president on the security summit we held in August last year, that there is need for state police. And, we can say it is only the answer.

“The police of today are inadequate. So, if we look at the ratio, it is far below international standard. Therefore, we in the Forum agreed that we can find a way that we can fine-tune the issue of state police.”

He insisted that only states that can afford state police should opt for it.

“That is why we are saying that it is not all the states that are supposed to have state police…For instance, Lagos State, as rich as it is, can have state police.

“The federal police in Lagos, they can reduce the number and send to Osun, Ogun and other states that cannot do it. If Rivers State can afford it, the number of federal police can be redeployed to Cross River and other neighbouring states like Enugu that cannot do it. If Kano State can do it, they can take to my state that is not all that rich. It is something that we cannot take up at the same time and land at the same time.”

Meanwhile, chairman of the ad hoc committee on the just-concluded summit, Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, said in a statement, yesterday, the thrust of the gathering was to proffer solutions to serious national security challenges.

He said with contributions from service chiefs and other players in the security circle, a new security architecture will be developed.

“The successful two-day event served as an opportunity to survey the nation’s current security situation and to place all issues on the table, in an effort to find short and long term solutions to the nation’s security challenges. Important assessment briefings were provided by the heads of security and intelligence agencies.  Summit presenters and attendees focused on the areas of weakness that should be strengthened and the various assets at the Federal Government’s disposal, particularly, ways to strengthen security, through deployment of assets.

“The primary purpose of the summit was to reassure citizens that all arms of government are serious about addressing insecurity and are working in collaboration to find solutions.

“Out of the whole-of-government efforts, Nigerians can expect a higher level of security to protect lives and property.”