Killings: Without State Police, We Risk More Attacks, Says Ike Ekweremadu

Security operatives arrest six more suspects

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The Deputy President of the Senate , Ike Ekweremadu , has taken the campaign for restructuring to the United States of America.

To give fillip to this , Ekweremadu is set to sponsor a bill to decentralise Nigeria’ s policing system.

This , he said, was in response to the rising insecurity in the country , particularly the killing of over 100 people in 11 villages in Plateau State by armed Fulani herders.

This has led to a public outcry with prominent Nigerians including the Senate President, Bukola Satraki calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack all the security chiefs for their alleged inability to secure the country and arrest perpetrators of killings across the country particularly Fulani herdsmen.

But Ekeremadu argued that though the sacking of security chiefs might bring temporary relief , the decentralisation of the nation ’ s police would go a long way in stemming the tide of violence and killings in the country .

According to him , those who were opposed to state police have changed their minds in the wake of unending killings across the country .

He said the bill would be passed in “record time .”

The Deputy Senate President was said to have given the indication during an interactive session with Fulbright Scholars , Exchange Scholars , and Graduate Students of the International Centre for Information and Nelson Mandela Institute of Research .

It was his maiden lecture as a Professor and Senior Mentoring Scholar, E -Governance and Strategic Government Studies , at the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Social Sciences, Southern University , Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA .

Ekweremadu was quoted in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by his Special Adviser on Media , Mr . Uche Anichukwu, as condemning the current system as “dysfunctional and unsuitable for a federal system. ”

He said, “As far as I am concerned, whatever we are doing now is certainly not working and we cannot continue to do the same thing and expect a different result.

“The real tragedy of the Plateau massacre is that we risk more attacks and loss of lives unless we decentralise our policing and allow every state at least to take its fate in its own hands.

“So , despite the failure of previous attempts to decentralise the police during constitution amendments, I will introduce a bill that will bring about state police or decentralised policing once I return to Nigeria. ”

The lawmaker pointed out that events in recent years had proven beyond reasonable doubts that the current centralised security system would never help the government to live up to its primary responsibility of improving the welfare of the people and the protection of their lives and property .

“I think people are now facing the stark reality. I have been getting calls from serving and former governors and key players and interests, who were opposed to the idea of state police . They confessed that they had seen what some of us have been shouting from the rooftops over the years . They want the bill introduced .

“The members of the ( Nigeria) Governors’ Forum are also favourably disposed to the idea now. In fact , their Chairman , the Governor of Zamfara State ( Abdulaziz Yari ), one of the epicentres of the incessant killings recently ‘ resigned ’ his position as the chief security officer of his state as the current constitutional arrangement denies him the powers, manpower and resources to stem the killings in his state .

“The bill will also address the fears of Nigerians opposed to state police .

Just like the judiciary , the bill will provide for a central police service commission and also structure the state police services in ways that immune them from abuse by any governor or state . It is also a bill we can conclude in record time , ” Ekweremadu added .

The Deputy Senate President stated that the killings had continued mainly because the federating states were not constitutionally allowed to recruit , train and equip enough manpower for the security of lives and property of citizens in their states .

He said, “Unlike here in the United States where the component states, counties, big institutions set up police service to address their local needs , the Nigerian constitution vests the security of a very vast, multifarious and highly populated country in the hands of the Federal Government.

“The internal security of Nigeria depends on one man or woman, who sits in Abuja as the Inspector – General of Police . The governor of a state , though designated as the chief security officer of the state by the constitution , cannot direct the police commissioner of his state on security matters , the commissioner will have to clear with the Assistant Inspector -General of Police , who will clear with a Deputy Inspector – General of Police , who will also clear with the Inspector – General of Police , who may in turn need to clear with the President, who is the commander- in – chief of the armed forces . By the time the clearance comes , if it ever does , it would have been late .

“Nigeria is the only federal system I know , which operates a unitary or centralised policing . Ironically, it was not the case in the beginning . The founding fathers agreed on a federal constitution which allowed the component units to set up local police organisations . But it was overturned by the military and successive civilian regimes have continued to play the ostrich .”

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