Does Nigeria Really Needs State Policing?
Written by Ibraheem Sikiru
Published on 6/6/2019 5:27:25 PM
Security of live and properties and human welfare are the primary assignments of any government. Government of any kind who fail to ensure these deserves never to be in power of authority. Hence, the recent call for the establishment of State Policing in Nigeria.
Today, insecurities of different kinds have become normal activities in the country. There is no part of Nigeria without its security issues. Kidnapping which started in the core South-South has been recognized as normal profitable business and spread all over the country. South-West which was being considered the most peaceful part of the country is now the headquarter of Kidnapping with Lagos State in recognition. South-East suffers degrees of insecurity ranging from Occultic Franchise, Intensed Robbery, Kidnapping to devastating pro-secessionist protests. The entire North including North-East, North-West and North-Central are either under the captivity of the insurgent Boko Haram, the Killer Herdsmen, Kidnappers and Notorious Armed Robbery. While Lagos may be the Headquarter of Kidnapping, its training site, origin, mentors, founders, godfathers and their giants strategists could be traced to the South-South. Robbery, Occultic attacks and normal street tensions are among the topmost security threats in the South-South region of the country.
Nigeria, of the said over 180 million with nothing lesser than 371,800 police officers; the State Security Service (SSS) and officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, the states governments are still calling for the establishment of law that creates state policing. Does Nigeria really needs State Policing?
If the states government could join hands with the existing security apparatus, integrate the operations of the various security agencies and their Officers in the respective states, creating State Policing will never add value to the existing system.
Firstly, the National Unity at threat. What is meant by this, is that one of the factors that is still keeping this country together is the kind of Federal Policing System. The Federal Policing system is one which enhance inter-regional integration and national unity. A Yoruba Police Officer in the South-West would be mobilized or transferred to the core Hausa-Dominated Northern region. The same happens to an Hausa Police Officer serving in the core Christian Dominated South-East. This is part of the factors that keep Nigeria a country today. Should government endorse State Policing, continuity of the National Youth Service Corps will be at stake. I will share an experience in the next paragraph.
Another reason Nigeria does not need State Policing is that Law Enforcement becomes biased.
The primary assignment of Police is to enforce law among the citizen of a country.Enforcement of Law has a lot to do with equity not equality. Recalling that the larger proportion of the Police Officers in a particular state will be an indigenous Officers, once the State Policing is fully accepted, one or all of the following will start to occur;
- Tribalizatiion of Policing Duties: This means ethnicity will be introduced into the activities of law enforcement by the state police officers. For instance, consider a situation where a native of Benue has policing case in the core Zamfara State or the other way round, the herdsmen-farmer's hostility will surely be a factor in dealing with such case. This may capitalized into regional rift and if care is not taken, might lead into an ethical cold war.
In fact, I had an experience on this in the core North where a friend of mine got involved in a motor-cyle accident with another man who is indigenous. The case was reported to a police station. The wonderful thing is that, the Police Officer who was assigned the case, a Northerner though, said the normal at the point of the accident but when we got to the station the story changed. It took the intervention of a senior Yoruba Offiver who was just posted to the city that helped us to get justice.
- National Unity at threat: Another most difficult tasks that state policing might cause the country is to put her unity at risk. An Igbo Police Officer working in the core North will learn and adapt by the simple regulations of the area and convey the message to his/her Igbo counterparts who might be developing negative impressions on the area. For instance, consider the situation you heard Zamfara. Something comes to your mind and that is ZARIA. However, in reality where is ZARIA in Zamfara State. Until you get to Zamfara before you know that a project used in 2003 and dumped immediately is still travelling round the country, even at death.
With State Policing, Igbo will be policing Igbo nation; Yoruba will be policing Yoruba land, the core north might still be having separate issues for the diversity of the region along both religion and ethnic lines.
Thirdly, What is the effect of the Security Vote? Before starting another security setting, please can we assess the effect of an alike and existing setting, The Security Votes. There is rare a state governor that receives lesser than N200 million monthly as the state's security votes. This money is meant to be used to integrate security in the state and ensure safety of lives and properties. How are the state governments spending the money? If they could be receiving such a huge amount of money, monthly, without security guaranty, then what is the assurance that monthly allocation for the state policing will also be emptied somewhere else?
To rap the write-up, State Policing will sooner or later amount to Political Disadvantages: Nigeria is still democratically developing and creation of state policing could pose more threat to the developing political system than the good we might be expecting. Before digging more into this, let us consider an apparatus of government that already has its Federal and State Authorities. I meant the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the State Independent Electoral Commission (-SIEC).
Let us ask ourselves, "How many states have conducted Local Government Area Election and see the opposition winning a seat in an election being controlled by the -SIEC?" In fact, the worst now is that the -SIEC has been hijacked in such a way that state governors will not order them to conduct the Council election. This is for them to fix their loyalists on the citizens at the local levels of governance.
Now, consider a situation when state policing is handed over to the state government. One of the possibilities is that the state police force will be filled with loyalists who might be political thugs and this will be very easier for the incumbent to rig an election by simple form of incessant arrest of opposition leaders, opposition electorates; vote suppression, disruption of voting in the strong opposition area.
If at all the State Policing has its advantages, rather strategic and effective restructuring should be done on the existing Police Force than creating another problems for the next generation. Ibraheem Sikiru A
Public Commentator, Political Analyst, Software Developer, Data Miner, and Admin at Facebuk Academy