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The consideration for state police




By Stephen Asaba-ase


The chicken is coming home to roost at last. For the first time ever, the political leadership of this country has flashed the green light over the idea of devolving the federal monopoly of policing in Nigeria.


After President Bola Tinubu’s meeting with state governors last week, the Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris Malagi, announced that the Federal Government was considering the idea of approving state police.


More meetings are to take place to give it a thorough look. Progressives who have forever canvassed for changes towards “true federalism” to get the country working properly made state police a pivotal issue in this campaign.


But the conservatives – those who wanted things to remain in the status quo that firmly kicked against it, expressing fear that it could lead to “national disunity”. Now, even the most conservative among us have finally admitted that the police strength we have is no longer tenable.


With a population of about 226 million and a poorly motivated police capacity of just about 371,000 (a third of whom are on VIP duties), our single, central police command setting can no longer cope.



Unlike before, new violent crimes such as kidnapping, banditry, cultism, hard drug use and terrorism are now on our table. These criminals are well armed with sophisticated weaponry and occupying ungoverned spaces in the forests. Even the Army is finding the situation difficult to handle. Well-trained, armed and motivated state police outfits will help to remove these unwanted elements from the bushes and forest to allow farmers return to their farms.


This is the only way we can restore food security. State police will properly domesticate law enforcement away from the current colonial style which is failing. It will give the Governors a fair chance to live up to their constitutional tag as Chief Security Officers of their states.


Those who are arguing that state police will further empower the Governors to suppress their political opponents are placing politics above security of lives and property.


“Without state police, the Governors have elevated themselves to emperors in the state with the use of federal police, the military, armed thugs and vigilantes.


State police will bring check points of security threats under control and it under constitutional arrangement. A Governor can always be called to give its stewardship when his immunity expires in office.


We believe that, given the current security problems we find ourselves in, a constitutional amendment can fast-track the process to enshrine state policing in the country.


Once the president reaches broad spectrum with the governors and other statesmen, a constitution amendment bill can complete its process from the National Assembly to the State Assemblies and land on the president’s desk within a month.


Policing is basically a local affair, and the best people to watch and secure a locality are usually the people from that environment. Nobody can stop an idea whose time has come.