Governors yesterday threw their weight behind agitation for state police in the country by stakeholders in the polity arising from myriads of security problems facing the country.
Governors’ s position on the agitation was declared by the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum ( NGF) , Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari in Abuja in an interview with journalists at the venue of National Security Summit organised by the Senate.
He disclosed that the idea of state police as the surest way out of the security crisis in the country has long been mooted by the Governors as far back as 2014 but marred by the division that erupted within the forum that time .
He said there are no two ways about it been an idea that has not only come to stay, but needed to be practicalised very urgently because of the seeming incapacitation of the current centralised police structure in the face of the security challenges on ground .
He however said that the implementation of the idea after constitutional provisions to that effect ,may not be at once by the 36 states but gradually based on financial viability .
He said, ” The first primary responsibility of government anywhere in the world is to ensure that the lives and properties of citizens is protected. And there has been so many challenges in Nigeria for the past 10 years ranging from Boko Haram, cattle rustling, armed banditary, militancy in the Niger Delta dwindling the economy and even threatening the unity of the nation.
“The take home from this summit is that the Vice President raised some of the key discussions on the 17 of August about the issue of state police. The state police is something we have agreed during the constitutional amendment but at a later time when the Forum divided into two, some governors played to the gallery, which is unfortunate.
“Today, we have reiterated the position of the Vice President on the security summit we held in August that there is a need for state police. And we can say it is only the answer. The police of today are inadequate so if we look at the ratio, it is far below international standard. Therefore, we in the Forum agreed that we can find a way that we can fine-tune the issue of State police.
On envisaged possible inadequate funding of such outfit by the state government , Governor Yari said since it wont be made compulsory constitutional, states with financial viability for that purpose can do it , while others can still solely rely on the federal police for security in their states .
“It is not all the states that are supposed to have state police. Those that can, can have it. For instance, Lagos State, as rich as they are, can have state police. The Federal police in Lagos, they can reduce the number to Osun, Ogun and other states that cannot do it. If Rivers State can afford it, the number of Federal police can be redeployed to Cross River and other neighbouring states like Enugu that cannot do it. If Kano State can do it, they can take to my state that is not all that richer.
” It is something that we can’t take up at the same time and land at the same time”,he said