State Police appears to be on the way to becoming a reality after President Bola Tinubu and state governors agreed to work on the modalities to establish it.

A “Bill for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s Constitution to Provide for the Establishment of State Police, and Related Matters,” which is presently being worked on in the House of Representatives, is the most obvious sign yet that the quest could become a reality.

In the meantime, as nationwide insecurity keeps getting worse, the Bill is fueling controversy.Over the course of the last three weeks, over 500 people—including schoolchildren—were kidnapped in the states of Borno, Kaduna, and Sokoto; however, some of them have since been set free and reunited with their families.

Zamfara State Governor Dauda Lawal only expressed regret last week that his state was under siege and asked President Bola Tinubu for help. Lawal made these remarks while in Abuja at the Presidential Villa.

In what amounts to a bombshell, the Bill grants the President broad authority to direct the Inspector General of the Federal Police in enforcing security; however, if the Bill clears the Senate and is signed into law by the President, governors will not have the same level of power over State Police.

According to the Bill, a state’s commissioner of police may decline to carry out a governor’s order if he believes it to be illegal, even though he was appointed by the state governor.However, the Bill allows the State Police Service Commission to intervene in such cases; their decision will be final.In response to the growing wave of insecurity in Nigeria brought on by the actions of kidnappers, bandits, and terrorists, the president and governors decided to support the State Police.Supporters of the State Police contend that granting state governors authority over the police would provide them the flexibility to reduce unrest.

However, detractors warn that this could lead to chaos since partisan governors could use the police force they control as a political tool to subjugate their rivals.

However, there is a counterargument as well: if that is the case, analysts contend, there is nothing wrong with having State Police as long as insecurity is eliminated.

After all, a partisan President can also politically deploy the police and use them against his opponents.The police are only subject to federal government control because they are on the Exclusive List under the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

Security is allegedly compromised by the centralised management of the police, according to analysts, since the Commissioner of Police receives orders from the Inspector General of Police (IGP) in Abuja rather than the state governor.

They essentially want law enforcement on the Concurrent List.After the governors and Tinubu met in Abuja late last month, Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, revealed that they were considering “the possibility of setting up State Police.””Also, the subject of State Police is being discussed. The idea of establishing State Police is being considered by the federal and state governments, according to Idris.He claims that while everyone in the meeting acknowledged the necessity of the State Police, further talks are still required to determine the best course of action.

The House of Representatives recently passed the “Bill for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s Constitution to Provide for the Establishment of State Police, and for Related Matters” on second reading.

Thirteen other legislators from the country’s six geopolitical zones co-sponsor the bill, which was first introduced in the House on November 7, 2023, and is sponsored by Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu.The co-sponsors are Hon. Julius Ihonvbere, Hon. Onanuga A. Oriyomi, Hon. Joseph Bassey, Hon. Ibe Olwara-Osonwa, Hon. Thaddeus Attah, Hon. Joshua Audu Gan, Hon. Hassan B. Shinlmfi, Hon. Chinwe Clara Nnabuife, Hon. Obed Paul Shehu, Hon. Fatima Taiba, Hon. Tolani Shagaya, Hon. -sponsors.

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