The state police proposal was rejected by Inspector General of Police Kayode Egbetokun, who issued a warning that the governors could misuse the force for their own political or personal benefit, endangering national security and human rights.

The Inspector General made this statement on Monday at the “Pathways to Peace: Reimagining Policing in Nigeria” national dialogue on state policing, which was sponsored by the House of Representatives and held in Abuja.The Federal Government, however, emphasized that the initiative could not be reversed.Vice President Kashim Shetimma reaffirmed at the function the Bola Tinubu administration’s commitment to fostering the formation of state police across the nation.

The country has been facing complex security issues for the past few years, and despite the deployment of multiple strategies, including the use of military forces throughout the nation, the police authorities have not been able to reverse the situation.

Tinubu and the state governors reached a consensus to address the anomaly by devising strategies that would ultimately lead to the establishment of state police to address the security issue.This was one of the agreements made during the President and 36 state governors’ emergency meeting in February at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja.

Approximately twenty governors have so far provided the National Economic Council with reports endorsing state police.To advance the initiative, the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s Constitution (Alteration) Bill 2023 (Establishment of State Police) HB 617 was passed by the House of Representatives on February 20, 2024, for a second reading.IG opposes initiativeThe IG, represented by Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Ben Okolo, at the security summit, called for solutions to the challenges confronting the Nigeria Police Force to enable it to serve the people better.He said, “On the issue of state police, it is the submission of the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force that the country has yet to mature and ready for the establishment of state-controlled police.

“There is the potential for abuse of power by the state political leadership. State governors could use the police forces under their control for political or personal gain and compromise human rights and security.

”Okolo stated that instead of establishing state police, “The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and Federal Road Safety Commission should form a department under the Nigerian police.’’Responding to the IG’s arguments, the Vice President, who represented President Tinubu, affirmed that the state police initiative was not timely.“This government under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu is acutely aware of the complex security issues that abound in places.

As such, we are continually developing methods to address these challenges effectively.“The President believes that the path to effective security is through adaptive reforms catering to our diverse situations and circumstances. This can only be achieved by carefully reviewing various options,” the VP stated.

The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the VP, Stanley Nkwocha, noted that the Tinubu administration knew Nigeria’s complex security issues and would continually develop and refine its strategies and methods to address the challenges effectively.

Shetimma stated, “In our deliberations, let us consider the implications of state policing from multiple perspectives. We must evaluate its potential to improve response times to emergencies, adapt to specific local challenges and increase accountability.“At the same time, we must address concerns related to the standardisation of training, oversight, and the safeguarding of civil liberties.

“We view the outcomes of today’s deliberations as crucial inputs that will guide the government’s actions towards reforming the institution of the police and achieving a safer and more secure Nigeria.”He believed that Monday’s dialogue would present an opportunity to listen, understand, and propose solutions that bridge gaps.The VP expressed delight that the 10th House of Representatives under Speaker Tajudeen Abbas keyed into state policing, noting that “the involvement of the legislature in executive reform proposals ensures continuity and synergy.“Let us use this opportunity to engage and explore every option with the seriousness and diligence they demand. The President is committed to listening to your recommendations and insights, which are invaluable to shaping the policies that will lead us toward a more secure and just society,” he added.

Lending his support for state policing, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan said what is debatable is the manner it would operate alongside the federal police.

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