We’ll Reform Police Says Tinubu; No, Nigeria Not Ripe For State Police, IGP Argues

We’ll Reform Police Says Tinubu; No, Nigeria Not Ripe For State Police, IGP Argues

23rd April 2024 NewsOrient

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has openly expressed willingness to reform Nigeria’s Police Force as a way of tackling insecurity in the country.

He said this at the National Dialogue on State Police organised by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, at the Abuja Continental Hotel, Abuja with the theme: Pathways to Peace: Reimagining Policing In Nigeria.

President Tinubu said through Vice President Kashim Shettima, who represented him at the event, that “the commitment of the administration of President Tinubu to reform the police force and enhance security at both the national and state levels is unwavering.

“We view the outcomes of today’s deliberations as crucial inputs that will guide the government’s actions towards reforming the institution of the police and achieving a safer and more secure Nigeria.”

Other prominent guests at the event, who shared the same view with President Tinubu include former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) and Minister of Police Affairs, Ibrahim Gaidam.

But in his contribution at the event, Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, argued that Nigeria is not yet ripe for State Police. He said it would be better to consider other reforms, since, according to him, State Governors will abuse State Police under their control.

“On the issue of state police, it is the submission of the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) that Nigeria is not yet mature and ready for the establishment of state-controlled police,” the IGP, represented by AIG Ben Okolo, said at the event.

The IGP said “there is the potential for abuse of power by the state political leadership.

“State governors could use the police forces under their control for political or personal gain and undermine human rights and security.

“There would also be a conflict of jurisdiction,” he said.

But former President Goodluck Jonathan, while supporting approval of establishment of State Police said pointedly: “The issue of the need for states to have their own police is not negotiable. There is no way we can continue this kidnapping that is going on in this country.”

He added: “Commercial kidnapping started around 2006, I don’t want to go into that history. But it started in the Niger Delta. Now it is all over the country,”… “The only thing that can help us if we cannot stop it completely at least we reduce it to the barest minimum is for states to have their police,” he said.

Former Military Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar, in his contribution gave further hints on how to set up viable State Police in Nigeria.

He said: “As a child growing up in the rural community, we see the role of the village heads where if a stranger enters a village the village head knows about that and through their communication the Emir is aware.

“As we are talking about establishing the state police, we should also look into the role of our royal fathers,” the former head of state said.

Minister of Police Affairs, Gaidam, also voted for a decentralised police system. He said a decentralised structure that allows each state to manage its police force under a framework that makes for coordination with federal agencies will be ideal for Nigeria.

“This model would involve recruiting, training, and equipping state police officers to meet professional standards while ensuring accountability and oversight mechanisms are in place,” he said.

Earlier, the organiser of the event and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen, had said: “The House of Representatives is aware of the divisive and polarising arguments surrounding the issue under review.

“Let me state categorically that the House and indeed the National Assembly do not have a fixed position. Our role is to facilitate a dialogue and generate consensus.”

Photo Credit: The Guardian Nigeria

~ NewsOrient