Ajimobi Advocates For State Police

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Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State on Wednesday explained why Nigeria needed state police, saying it would ensure that all the nooks and crannies of the country were adequately protected and saved from criminal activities.
The governor told newsmen in Ibadan that although the police were doing their best in terms of security of lives and property of Nigerians, he, however, said that the present imposition of a centralized police force on Nigeria’s federal structure had contributed majorly to the helpless of the force in the efficient discharge of its assignment.
He contended that Nigeria, as a country with federal system, was ripe enough for state police, citing other countries like the United States of America, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, India and Ethiopia with similar federal system which at present operate state police.
“The Nigerian Federal and Presidential Systems are patterned largely after those of the United States of America. However, the policing system has no bearing to the system of United States.
“The constitution of the United States allows the federal, state, local and even special districts like universities to perform police functions. The relationship among all the police services is properly coordinated for the exchange of intelligence and prevention of crime.
“The Federal Government of Australia maintains police forces alongside the federating units. Germany is a federation made up of Landers (equivalent of states). The German Constitution concedes most of police powers to the 16 Landers even though the federal government is also allowed to legislate on the subject.
“In Switzerland, the constitution empowers the federating units which are called the “Cantons” to share policing functions with the federal government. In Canada, the national government shares policing functions with the federating units which are called provinces.
“In India, each of the states has its own state police force. The State Police Force is responsible for maintaining law and order in the townships and the rural areas, while the major cities also have their respective Metropolitan Police Services.
“It is evident from the foregoing that Nigeria’s refusal to reflect the federal structure in its policing structure is the exception rather than the rule in comparative federal systems,’’ he said.
The governor said that the problems widely ascribed for police inefficiency like funding, manpower and indoctrination were problems that could be more easily addressed if Nigeria adopts a federalist police structure through state police, rather than the present system.
He said that the current attempt at reviewing the 1999 Constitution should include the provision for the establishment of state police so as to decentralize the policing of the Nigerian nation.
“My conviction is based on my experience. I was a member of the Senate between 2003 and 2007 where I partook in the federal exclusive legislative responsibility of police functions.
“I have been Governor of Oyo State for about 19 months now, during which I have served as the Chief Security Officer of the State. For anyone conversant with the history of Oyo State, it is no mean feat to be Chief Security Officer of a state like Oyo.
“At the time I assumed duty, the state had attracted the notoriety as one of the most turbulent states in Nigeria. Brigandage, violence and a culture of impunity were the order of the day,’’ he recalled.
The governor commended officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force for complementing his administration’s initiatives to address the fundamentals that predisposed the state to such violence.
“While the officers and men of the Police have been supportive, the structure of centralized police has made it impossible for us to move at a desirable speed,’’ he said.
Governor Ajimobi, however, said that the provision of state police should come with checks and balances that would preclude the police from abuse by governors
He suggested the establishment of state police service commission on which the Chief Judge, paramount traditional rulers, representatives of groups like the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (SCIA) will serve as members.
He said a review of the national revenue formula and a change in the priorities of states could ensure that state police, when created, could be effectively funded by the state governments.

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