Federalism and the challenges of state police in Nigeria – Part 2

It is surprising that despite the very many fantastic reasons advanced for the fiscal autonomy of these bodies, the governors have seen no reason to allow it work. Based on these, one is then surprised to ask what makes the establishment of state police so special to the governors now —POWER. 

Were the governors not in brazen violation of Section 202 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, which established the independence of the States Civil Service, State Independent Electoral Commission and the State Judicial Service Commission, in terms of appointment into offices and the exercise of disciplinary control? Why are the workers lamenting and the states chapters of Judicial Service Union (JUSUN) always down-tooling?

Are the State Independent Electoral Commissions really independent when they are longing to be merged with their National counterpart? These are indicators to the facts that all is not well with the state governors in control, meddling in the affairs of these pseudo independent bodies.

As a result of the unwholesome meddling in the affairs of these agencies, all that the state governors in Nigeria always ensure is that no opposition party is allowed to win any seat whether as a ward Councilor or local government Chairman. They only conduct deceptive local government elections and return all the candidates of their party. Therefore, if state police is created, that may be the end of civility or peace in Nigeria.

Furthermore, it is submitted that for the onerous task of establishing state police in Nigeria to be legitimate, the legislature must tinker with the constitution through amendment by expunging items 2 and 45 of part 1 of the Second Schedule to the 1999 constitution from the Exclusive Legislative List and render them concurrent. In addition, it must also expunge Section 251(i) from the exclusive purview of the Federal High Court.

In addition,it is submitted that the parliament must amend item 45 of part 1 of the second schedule to exclude “the police”, and make the clause “other government security services established bylaw” more manifest in place of the nebulous and blanket clause that is neither here nor there, thereby creating a big confusion. Again, both Section 251(i) of the CFRN 1999 as amended and item 2 of the Exclusive Legislative List in part 1 of the Second Schedule to the 1999 constitution are one and the same, dealing with issue of arms, ammunition and explosives.

Granted, that the police ought to be civil in character and form, and may not need explosives, the state police being contemplated in Nigeria cannot do away with arms and ammunition like the police of the “yore” which used ordinary baton (Kondo) to maintain the law and order, or they become impotent in our risk ladden society devoid of any control over the already oppressed, frustrated and aggressive Nigerians.

For this reason, there is the compelling need to amend the constitution to accommodate the establishment of state police. However, the issue of remuneration and other key issues like control should be given to the Federal government, because if not so, some state government can owe policemen for several months without paying them salaries which act is capable of putting the security of citizens at risks, as a hungry man is an angry man and this can lead to more accidental discharge of bullets, molestation and harassment of citizens in the states.

It is also imperative to state that state police should not be mandatory for all states in Nigeria, but for those willing and capable of finance and proper control.

For the sake of clarity, Exclusive Legislative List has to do with items over which only the Federal Lawmakers can legislate upon for the exclusive enforcement of the Federal Government of Nigeria, while Concurrent Legislative List deals with those items upon which both Federal and State Lawmakers can legislate upon, for the enforcement or implementation of either or both federal and state governments.

Residual Legislative List deals with those issues which only the State Houses of Assembly can legislate upon,, and this covered whatever is excluded from both the Exclusive and Concurrent Legislative Lists. See Attorney General of the Federation v. Attorney General of Lagos State (2013) 16 NWLR (Pt. 1380) 305.

Before I draw the curtains on this vexed issue of state police, the question to ask is whether the establishment of State Police is the solution to the problems of security in Nigeria. It is submitted that there is apparently no one cap fits all solution to the security challenges in Nigeria. Kinetics have been used in the past and it is still being massively used. The results are however, open for all to see.

It is unfortunate that the so called criminals are much more determined than ever and are ready to sacrifice everything to have their ways than the state security agents who dare not intentionally lay their lives for the country because of the neglect and maltreatment that stand to be the lot of their dependants or survivors, If they lost their lives in the process of performing their constitutional duties.

That said, it is suggested that government should brace up, rejig and restructure the present security apparatus of the state as they are, and consider state police as an option only if all had failed under a new arrangement and or restructuring.

This is more so because as at today in Nigeria, there is shortfall in the number of police personnel as compared to the soaring population. In other words, Nigeria is under policed. In advanced climes, the number of policemen or security personnel recommended is a police man to about five citizens but in Nigeria, it is a policeman to an average of five hundred citizens. Unfortunately, despite the fact that we don’t have enough police personnel in the country, not less than two hundred thousand police personnel are in the service of the powers that be, erroneously referred to as “VIPs”. Therefore, if this staggering figure is removed from the population of Nigeria police, what remains?

So, one of the indispensable solutions to the security challenges in the country is the immediate redeployment of these policemen from the VIP Service, be it governor, the senators, their wives, allies and others. It needs no mention that apart from the politicians and their relations using police securities, any members of the society who is well to do are at liberty to get police escorts or orderlies in so far as they can meet the conditions.

This practice is alien in normal climes, and we should shun it in our country to give room to a more robust and effective policing and an enhanced security in the country.
Akingbolu is a Public Affairs Analyst and a Human Rights Activist based in Lagos.

The post Federalism and the challenges of state police in Nigeria – Part 2 appeared first on Guardian Nigeria News.

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