Over the past eight years, there has been a growing chorus of voices in Nigeria demanding the creation of a state police force.

Ever since Muhammadu Buhari took office as president in 2015—a result of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeating the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)—the nation has experienced an unparalleled degree of instability.

The Boko Haram Islamist cult, robbers, Fulani herdsmen militia, unidentified gunmen, and, most recently, kidnappers, have all been involved in the latest wave of violence that has killed, maimed, stolen, raped, and destroyed farms, homes, and people’s means of subsistence.

The people of Nigeria feel that the government is failing in its fundamental duty to ensure their safety.

The plot remains unchanged regardless of one’s location in the north or south. While Nigerians slept, Fulani herders slaughtered hundreds of thousands. Kidnappers and bandits are examples of non-state actors that have contributed to the escalation of the situation.

Kidnapping for ransom has grown so lucrative that some churchgoers even go to extreme lengths to abduct their pastors and reverends for the sole purpose of demanding ransom.

Kidnappers have invaded people’s houses and abducted many in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), reaching a critical point.

Demands for state police have been revived in light of the current security crisis.

There are many who believe it is high time for state police forces, but there are also many who are worried that governors will use them for personal gain.

The idea that governors could use them to smear their political opponents is terrifying to them.

On Thursday, the federal government hinted at the possibility of embracing state police, responding to the people’s aspirations and longings.

It was after President Bola Tinubu and the governors of the states met in a last-minute meeting at the Aso Rock Villa.

Food price hikes, economic hardship, and pockets of insecurity were the catalysts for the conference.

Following the meeting between President Tinubu and the 36 governors of the states, Minister of Information Mohammed Idris addressed State House Correspondents alongside Governors Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau, Ubah Sani of Kaduna, and Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta. Idris added that the president and the governors were discussing the potential establishment of a state police force.

While he acknowledged that much ground had to be covered before a state police force could be established, he reassured that the president and governors had committed to figuring out the necessary steps to make that happen.

Idris confirmed that there will be meetings to discuss how the state police will be established, but he also said that nothing final has been decided.

Let us not forget that Ike Ekweremadu, a former Senate Deputy President, had introduced a bill to establish state police in the 8th and 9th NASS, but such plans were never implemented. Every time he tried, he was met with failure.

In addition, Idris shared the news that a committee has been formed to compile the meeting’s key points.

He mentioned that the conference had been called by the president to inform the governors of the states about current events and federal initiatives, as well as to get their thoughts on development matters in the country.

There was a great deal of discussion over the state of national security. Some more steps that will aid in bettering our nation’s situation, as well as the apparent food crisis that has been covered by the media.

First, as a follow-up to the just finished meeting, the president and the governors have decided to form a committee to continue the discussion. It will undoubtedly be an ongoing one because, as you well know, most of the topics brought up at the discussion cannot be resolved in a single meeting.
Secondly, in the best interest of our country, these kind of meetings will be ongoing, as both the president and the governors have agreed.

We must ensure that matters of national importance are consistently addressed by the federal government and state governors, who are leaders at the sub-national level, and that there is no space for speculation or for individuals to take advantage of the situation to say things that are not in our country’s best interest by consistently engaging and interacting together.

“Mr. President and the state governors have also deliberated about the potential for increasing the training and manpower of forest rangers in this area, with the aim of making our forests and borders much more secure.”

The topic of state police is also being discussed. There is discussion between the federal and state governments about the potential establishment of state police.

Naturally, we will continue to discuss this further. A great deal of effort is required in that regard. The need for state police is acknowledged by both the federal and state governments. I already mentioned that more effort is needed in that regard, but this is still a major change.

Finally, regardless of their political differences, the 36 governors of Nigeria and the president are all committed to keeping Nigeria peaceful, united, and prosperous in the future. As I mentioned before, this type of discussion will keep getting deeper. State governors and the federal government will maintain their engagements.

In an interview with MISMOB, Yerima Shettima, president of the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF), reacted positively to the government’s plan, calling it the appropriate course of action given the country’s present security condition.

I am in favor of reorganizing because I believe in the state police. That is the crux of the matter.

Also, I consider the economy when deciding which states to support, and which governors to elect who will not slack off. They won’t depend on the center anymore; instead, they’ll use their resources behind closed doors and in hallways and send percentages to it.
We will have to stop collecting on loans. There are resources available to every state. His main point was that each state has the potential to earn its own revenue, which might be used for local development projects.
He brought up the need of a state police force and suggested that Nigeria take a page out of Israel’s playbook, all the while arguing that the country would advance significantly with the establishment of such a force.

We are aware that out of Israel’s population of about 80 million, there are at least four million police officers.

Nigeria, on the other hand, has over 220 million people supervised by fewer than 400 thousand police officers. There is no rationale for this, and it is not implemented anywhere due to its impracticality.

Therefore, state police are necessary to supplement them. Because they are familiar with the local criminal underworld, state police can assist federal forces in taking a hard line with those who operate within their borders.

It ought to be that way. With that said, he did state that he believed growth will move forward.

Hon. Yusuf Shehu, a former lawmaker from Katsina State, thinks it would be a mistake to establish a state police force now, when the nation’s security is at a critical juncture.

In an interview with MISMOB, he predicted a showdown between federal and state law enforcement.

Additionally, he voiced his concern that governors from different states could utilize the state police to smear their political rivals.

Instead, he thinks the government should establish non-military community police forces that can complement federal law enforcement in intelligence gathering and keep neighborhoods secure.

“I don’t think establishing state police is the best idea” when asked about the current security situation in the country. Community policing, in which the government and the Nigerian police force collaborate, is the way to go, in my opinion.

The community police should not be armed, thus there needs to be cooperation. This is due to the fact that they and the Nigerian police force are going to collide in terms of authority. Additionally, state governors may engage in illicit activities using them, such as engaging in political retaliation against their opponents, endangering the state’s tranquility.

If the state police are structured similarly to Amotekun and Hisbah in Kano, I can get behind them. Then they can work in tandem with the rest of the country’s security agencies, such as the Police, the DSS, and the Civil Defense Corps.

Instead of “state police,” they ought to be known as “community police” or some other appropriate term. Because they are more familiar with the area than the police, they should provide valuable information to help keep the peace and prevent harm to people and their property.

He continued by saying, “The state police will not work because there will be different executions of powers and directives by neighbouring states,” expressing doubt about the legitimacy of state police.

For example, the states of Zamfara and Sokoto have separate state police forces, which could lead to people migrating to the one with more favorable rules and regulations.

People will be impacted by different rules and regulations. The federal and state police forces in Nigeria need to work together.

Our varied cultural backgrounds will be an asset. Possibilities include molestation and movement restrictions. The state of Plateau is a good example of how religious and cultural differences may lead to conflict.

I do not think that Nigeria, at this juncture in its history, would benefit from a state police force. Since Nigeria is a federation, I would rather have community police that can lend a hand to the Nigerian police.

But the president of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Dr. Pogu Bitrus, said that, given the current state of affairs, the state police are the way to go.

According to him, the establishment of state police by the administration has his full backing.

I support the establishment of state police, and I think that our security situation will be better handled with their help,” he stated. This is similar to what we had previously, and it served Nigeria well.

Uncertainty seems to be everywhere these days. Everywhere you look, people are being abducted, farms are being leveled, and our military is being utilized as a police force.

The military’s job is to defend the country’s borders, but instead we’re making them act like police officers.

The establishment of state police forces will greatly benefit our nation and help resolve several issues. “I believe I am completely behind it,” he told DAILY POST.

In his own view, Osita Okechukwu, a founding member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has pushed for the creation of the Constabulary Police in accordance with Sections 105 to 109 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.

In the same vein that they have violated other democratic institutions like the court, the legislature, and the local government system, Okechukwu, the former Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), cautioned that state governors may abuse the state police.

To prevent decisions made in the midst of tangible anguish, he told DAILY POST on Sunday that it would be wiser to gradually transition from the Special Constabulary of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to the State Police.

“To examine the pure kernels and appreciate the relevance of Constabulary Police and the imperative to overhaul the NPF in addressing the same gruesome insecurity we out of grief wittingly or unwittingly assume that State Police is one size which fits all,” he implored everyone to take the time to read the NPF Act 2020.

While the NPF was unable to protect us, Okechukwu argued that the “Special Constabulary is a Silver Bullet which will resolve the intense paradox of public paranoia against our Emperor Governors that have scant regard to the rule of law.”

“I agree that there is horrible grief in the land and that NPF needs rejiggering, hence the imperative of urgent solution,” he stated.

Nevertheless, I believe that state police are involved in a politics of grievance, and that this could lead to a worse situation than what was originally planned, considering the anti-democratic history of the people in charge of the subnational units and the financial difficulties faced by some states.

“The solution cannot be to carve off kingdoms for emperors; we all had a hand in making the inequity and insecurity worse in the first place.

“To sum up, I think that the creation of the Special Constabulary, in accordance with Sections 105 to 109 of the Nigeria Police Act 2020, is a more desirable outcome, as it accomplishes two goals simultaneously.”

In his opinion, the current state of affairs demands nothing less than a Special Constabulary force that is both highly trained and equipped with cutting-edge weaponry in order to apprehend kidnappers, terrorists, and rebels, free from dictatorial behavior.

This is particularly true when they will be selected from the native population of the state in question through partnerships with the governors and local communities, with only a few small strings attached by the federal government to ensure moderation.

“The spread of sadness, hopelessness, despair, and despondency, as well as the horrific picture of a nation engulfed by insecurity, were clear, but it would be counterproductive to quickly discard good things in the midst of chaos and try to fix everything at once.”

“Does it really make sense, my fellow citizens, to further empower governors who are similar to tyrants—constantly violating basic democratic principles and civil liberties, stifling local councils, and exposing the corruption within our state judiciary and legislatures—into rubber stamps?” “Haha!” Okechukwu joked.

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