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IGP Kayode Egbetokun Advises against State Police, Says Govt Excesses will Frustrate It

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By Uche Amunike

The Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, has advised against the state policing proposal by the House of Representatives in Abuja, with the warning that governors could abuse it for political or personal gains and thereby, compromise human rights and national security.

Speaking, during the national dialogue on state policing organized by the lawmakers, Monday in Abuja, the police chief made it clear that such an initiative would only bring about abuse of power by the state political leadership, adding that the country was not yet mature to handle a state-controlled police network.

His words: ‘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.’

During the event, which was themed ‘Pathways to peace: Re-imagining Policing in Nigeria’, Vice President Kashim Shettima, harped on the commitment of the Tinubu-led administration towards creating an enabling environment that would establish state policing across the country.

He maintained that Nigeria had been fighting multifaceted security challenges for the past years with the police authorities unable to control the crisis in spite of the deployment of various strategies, which include military forces across the country.

He also stated that part of the agreement reached at an emergency meeting held between the president and 36 state governors of the country at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja in February, was that modalities that would culminate in the creation of state policing would be put in place, so as to tackle the current security crisis.

Presently, 20 governors have confirmed their support for the state police to the National Economic Council.

The IGP, Kayode Egbetokun, who was represented by his deputy, Ben Okolo, at the security summit, has however called for solutions to the problems facing the Nigerian Police Force, so as to help them serve the people better. He reiterated that there would be potential abuse of power by the state political leadership if state policing is introduced. He recommended instead, that the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps and Federal Road Safety Commission should form a department under the Nigerian police.

In response, Shettima, who represented President Bola Tinubu, affirmed that the state police initiative was not well timed. His words: ‘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 Senior Special Assistant to the VP on Media and Communications, Stanley Nkwocha, on his part, stated that the President Tinubu administration was aware of the country’s complex security issues and would continue to develop and refine it’s strategies and methods of addressing the challenges effectively.

Shettima further 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.’

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