Why we support state police - FCT residents
Since 2014, after the abandoned recommendations of the National Conference, agitations for state police have been occasionally loud; but the loudest voices resurfaced in the wake of recent mass killings across the country, forcing the National Assembly to commence hearing on a Bill establishing the security outfit. Williams ABAH and Edrina EMMANUEL spoke with some FCT residents on the move. Excerpts:
OGALA GIDEON: The creation of state police is long overdue. I think it is high time the government takes a look at it. State police will be more familiar with the environment within their jurisdictions. Even the vigilantes perform better than our federal police.
Let us not deceive ourselves, the present security structures in Nigeria cannot withstand the insecurity in the country. If we had state police in volatile areas where Fulani Herdsmen are killing on daily basis, they would have done better because they are familiar with the terrain.
Imagine a situation where herdsmen confidently carry out attacks and still go into hiding within that community and the police cannot fish them out.
What government needs to do is to device all means necessary to tackle the persisting insecurity in the country. As it is now, nowhere is secure. Last week seven policemen were killed at Galadimawa in Abuja. If this kind of insecurity can occur in the nation’s capital, it then means that nowhere is safe.
As we speak, Abuja metropolis is dangerous because the rate of crime has increased. I was in Lagos before I came to Abuja to do business, but with the wave of insecurity in this place, I’m now discouraged.
JACOB AUDU: Government has not shown concern over the lives and property of the citizens. We see political leaders driving with mass police escort, while the less privileged continue to fall prey to criminals. I blame the government for the high rate of crime in the nation’s capital.
Police are not well equipped; and not enough to fight crime. Yet a large percentage of them are working in private homes of the high and mighty. The creation of state police is the best solution to the current insecurity across the country.
As we speak, the so-called security personnel have been polarised along religious and ethnic lines. So the creation of state police is inevitable. If State police come on board, they would curtail all criminal activities in communities.
ABDUl AYENI: It is good the issue of state police is being discussed at a time when Nigeria is facing serious insecurity within. I think government needs to demonstrate political will and come up a legislation to create state police.
During Jonathan's administration, it generated a lot of debate. Some people said if State Police is created, they would become a tool in the hands of the state governors. For me, the government needs to put in place, independent sources where money will be utilized to fund the organization when created.
If there is an Independent source to fund state police and provide better welfare packages to the personnel, there is no way the officers will engage in sharp practices. In the curse of legislation, I also want to suggest that the government includes standard disciplinary measures to guide the conduct of the personnel.
The issue of insecurity is getting worse due to economic challenges. There is need for government to properly equip the police to protect the lives and property of Nigerians.
The creation of state police would be a great idea. But I think for now, there is need to strengthen the operations of the existing police force.
The creation of state police is not a welcome idea because the chief executives of the states will abuse it. The state of insecurity is actually bad. Security agencies are not up to task in performing their constitutional roles of protecting lives and property.
So I want this to be a wakeup call to the FCT administration. The security in FCT is very bad. The administration should try as much as possible to empower the youths so they can stay away from all forms of bad activities.
Looking at the state of insecurity in Nigeria, we need adequate policing in every state of the federation, including the FCT. Now, a state governor that we call the chief security officer of the state does not even have the power to command a commissioner of police. He has to wait for orders from above.
The governor should be able to order the police or the security apparatus in the state. He is supposed to be in charge. The serious insecurity across the country is because we don't have state police. Some people are saying if we have state police, governors would abuse it, but I think it would be easier to hold governors responsible for insecurity in their states.