Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Federal Police Has Failed Nigeria-Ajimobi

Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State today justified the call for the establishment of state police, saying that the federal-controlled Nigerian Police Force has failed woefully in the maintenance of internal security in the country.
Indeed, the governor called for amendment to the 1999 Constitution to accommodate the establishment of state police as a way out of the security challenges currently confronting Nigeria.
Governor Ajimobi made these submissions at a lecture entitled ``The Police Issue in Federal Nigeria: A Shoewearer’s Perspective’’ which he delivered at the Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan.
He said that the agitation for state police had become apt in view of the crime and criminal activities which had enveloped the country in recent times.

He noted that the Boko Haram uprising in the North, the kidnappings and mob killings in the South East and South-South and ceaseless armed robberies and assassinations in the South- West have raised questions on the ability of the police to secure Nigeria.

He lamented that the current command structure of the police had hampered state governors to truly serve as Chief Security Officers of their respective states. 

The governor also noted that the police had been subject to abuse by past federal administrations for political ends.
He cited the arrest and deportation of Alhaji Abdulrahman Shugaba, the Majority and Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP) Leader of the Borno State House of Assembly by the National Party of Nigeria-led Federal Government in the Second Republic. 

The police, he said, also featured prominently in the manipulations of the 1983 elections in Oyo, Ondo and Imo States.

 ``Since 1999, the police had been used by the PDP government of former President Obasanjo to harass and intimidate governors who either belonged to different political parties or were members of the same PDP but not on good terms with the former preside

``The instances included the abduction of Governor Ngige in Anambra State. It also included the police-assisted impeachment of many governors, including Governor Rashidi Ladoja of Oyo State.  Instances of police culpability in the rigging of elections against opposition parties have also been rampant,’’ he posited.

 According to the governor, one of the major consequences of the abuse of police power and inadequacy of the force was the emergence of multiple groups and public organizations ranging from neighbourhood vigilante groups to organised pseudo-security outfits like Bakasi Boys and Odu’a People’s Congress (OPC) among others.

 Governor Ajimobi dismissed the fears being expressed in some quarters that governors would abuse state police powers to oppress political opponents and that states did not have the resources to maintain police organizations.

 ``If the fear of abuse of police power is enough reason not to create State Police, then the Federal Government, in which such powers have been repeatedly abused, does not deserve to monopolise police power.
``If Nigeria is persuaded that states should perform police functions, the revenue allocation formula will have to be restructured to reflect the withdrawal of such function (or part of it) from the Federal Government and its enlistment as a state function. 
``Besides, the deployment of resources by the state is a function of the priorities of the government.  I am yet to see a government that has not listed security as a priority. 
The governor, who recalled that the 2013 budget allocation to the police is N319.65 billion, added that this was more than three times the size of Oyo State Budget for 2012. 
``We need to ask, as a nation, if we have a national bureaucracy to effectively deploy N319.65 billion for a single agency of government.
``Besides, my experience is that in spite of this staggering allocation, state governments have had to support the operations of the police in their respective states. 

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