State police: 20 governors’ decisions ready for NEC May – NGF

The decisions of the remaining 20 state governors on the proposed establishment of state police are expected to be submitted within the next four weeks.

This is according to the Director-General of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Asishana Okauru, who spoke in an exclusive interview with Sunday PUNCH on Friday.

Sixteen state governors had earlier thrown their weight behind the establishment of state police as a panacea for the insecurity ravaging the different parts of the country.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Media and Communication, Stanley Nwkocha, had earlier disclosed in a statement that discussions were held at a meeting of the National Economic Council and that 16 out of the 36 states had already submitted their reports on the state policing initiative.

The NEC received the reports from the 16 governors at its 140th meeting held at the Aso Rock Villa on March 21, 2024.

Nwkocha said there was an expectation that the remaining 20 governors, whose identities were not disclosed, would also submit their reports, stressing that all the states across the country expressed their support for the establishment of state police.

Okauru explained in a telephone conversation with one of our correspondents that the governors were unanimous in their support of the state police.

He added that the remaining 20 governors were already in the process of submitting their reports, and would turn them in a few weeks from now.

According to him, it became clear after the NGF’s last meeting that there was a need for the governors to speed up “whatever report they were putting together in respect of state police and submit it.”

He said, “The official position of the forum is in favour of state police. I don’t know of any state that is not in support of state police. I can tell you that I don’t know of any state not in support of the idea. That the governors have not submitted their reports for now is not saying they are not in support of it (state police).

“They are in the process of submitting their reports and I can tell you that in the next couple of weeks that would have been resolved. This is the only way to go. The forum has come a long way. So, there’s a very strong consensus in support of state police.”

Asked if funding would be a major challenge for the state police, the NGF director-general added that the government should begin to think about innovative ways to fund the security architecture of the country.

“Even the way the police structure is configured, funding is still an issue. So, the funding issue will always be there. In some other countries, the police institution is to some extent revenue-generating. You know, it has revenue-generating potential. I mean, if done well, you know that everybody will agree to it. Let’s accept that the funding issue will always be there whether it is done centrally or you are for state police.

“Another point that must be made is that it is not because some states have not submitted their reports that the idea hasn’t taken off. It became very clear after the last meeting that they needed to speed up whatever report they were putting together in respect of state police and submit it. So, a maximum of about four weeks, and it should be done,” he added.

President Bola Tinubu had on Thursday, February 15, 2024, agreed on the need to establish state police as recommended by state governors to curb rising insecurity in the country.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this to State House correspondents after a meeting between the President and the governors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to him, the possibility of creating a state police structure will be further discussed.

He further said that a lot of work needed to be done, and the President and the governors agreed on working out the modalities for the idea.

In October 2023, the President mooted the idea of increasing the numerical strength of the police, which is just a little over 300,000.

At the end of the Nigeria Police Council conclave, which Tinubu chaired, he set up a Constitutional Review Committee to carry out comprehensive police reforms.

The 2014 National Political Reform Conference recommended devolving policing by allowing states to create their police and enabling community policing.

However, former President Goodluck Jonathan, who initiated the 2014 conference, and his successor, Muhammadu Buhari, did not implement the recommendations despite the deteriorating security situation in the country during their administrations.



 Source: The Punch 

By Chukwudi Akasike, Godfrey George

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