he northern socio-political group, the Arewa Consultative Forum, and some ex- police chiefs on Tuesday rejected the Nigeria Governors’ Forum’s demand for state police.
They described creation of state police as an invitation to chaos.
But the Action Congress of Nigeria has backed the NGF, saying security in the country should be decentralised.
The National Assembly has however said that the possibility of state police will be part of its constitution review.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Information and Media, Enyinnaya Abaribe, on Tuesday told one of our correspondents in Uyo that every option that could enhance security would be considered.
“All options to enhance the security of Nigeria, including state police, are to be considered in the constitution amendment,” he said.
The ACF National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Anthony Sani, said the group did not back the NGF’s demand for state police, and urged President Goodluck Jonathan to pursue the option of dialogue with the north-based violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
“In a clime where democracy has yet to develop, state police would enable the state governors to use policemen to cause havoc for their opponents, reminiscent of how they used their state electoral commissions to conquer and vanquish the opponents at state level, leading to sluggish development,” Sani said.
He advised Jonathan to hold talks with Boko Haram, arguing that an attempt by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua to use force against the sect members did not succeed. He said the late President killed “hundreds of Boko Haram members, including their leader.”
Also, a former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero, warned that the creation of state police would lead to the eventual disintegration of Nigeria.
Ehindero, who spoke in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, argued that allowing the states to control the police would lead to anarchy because of existing issues among some states and regions in the country.
The former IGP said, “It will take us back to the days of ethnic militia; some issues have been handled with dialogue because the police are seen as that of all Nigerians,” the former IGP said.
“Security is development, issues such as education, health care and other services must be tackled as a way of having security,” he noted.
A retired Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, warned that the creation of state police would worsen insecurity in the country.
Tsav said this in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday.
He was reacting to calls by state governors for the creation of state police as a means of checking the menace of terrorism in the country.
The ex-police chief said, “I do not agree with the governors on the creation of state police as a solution to the insecurity in the country. It will rather worsen the situation given that the creation of state police would be abused by some power-drunk politicians.
“My experiences in the Police Force, coupled with the behaviour of politicians generally and some state governors, clearly show that the creation of state police will destroy professionalism in the Police, breed job insecurity, insecurity of tenure of senior police officers and will encourage and protect political thuggery in the states.
“Worse still, it will be used as instrument of intimidation and harassment against the opposition. Finally state police will be used for election rigging.”
Akande, while addressing senators at the ongoing Senate retreat in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, called for the decentralisation of security apparatus in the country.
He said that states should have the primary responsibility for police, while the Federal Government would play a complementary role.
Akande also advocated the establishment of a National Security Advisory Board as a step towards dealing with the state of insecurity in the country.
Akande described Boko Haram as a blight on the nation, and called for an urgent resolution for deal with the problem before it was too late.
He advised the government to “embark on a workable decentralisation of authority such as creation of some form of neighbourhood or state police,” adding that the government should also do more to improve the quality of life of the people.
He said, “The internal security of each state is the responsibility of the state authorities only to be complemented and supported by the Federal Government. We cannot continue to do things in the same old ways because it is these unfair ways that have brought us to this awful juncture.
“Poverty, wedded to injustice, has caused this sorry state. To resolve this matter, we only must seek security-related solutions, but we must tackle economic poverty and social injustice.”
The ACN chairman charged senators to assert themselves in enacting creative and prudent legislation that would overcome the twin challenges of poverty and injustice.
Also, the Congress for Progressive Change, which reacted through its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, supported the governors’ demand.
He, however, cautioned that the rule of law must be entrenched in the country before the establishment of state police.
Fashakin said, “With the framework of continuous improvement of our security, the call for state police is not a misplaced one.
“However, there are institutional imperatives that must be in place before we get to that point of maturity in the practice of constitutional democracy.
“The rule of law must be firmly entrenched within the nation space otherwise; we shall just be creating 36 avatars in addition to the bigger one in Aso Villa.”