Journalism in the service of society

The media and creation of state police in Nigeria

“Contrary to the opinion of some stakeholders, the introduction of state police does not mean the abrogation of the federal police. Both levels of policing will exist and collaborate, with jurisdictions clearly spelt out. It may equally present an opportunity to take an in-depth look into the powers of state governors as well as the immunity granted their offices”

In response to the challenges of insecurity across parts of Nigeria, there is an emerging consensus towards the creation of state police in the country.

It would appear, however, that in trying to play the devil’s advocate, some sections of the mass media seem to have turned themselves into an opposition force against the creation of state police in Nigeria.

Their sole argument is usually centered around the fear that state governors will abuse state police to win elections and nothing else.

I believe that there are more pressing matters in our polity beyond winning elections. These include curbing the threat to lives occasioned by pervasive insecurity and the need for law enforcement processes to promote economic development and peaceful coexistence. Therefore, effective policing at all levels of governance is imperative.

Many people complain of a centralised and overbearing federal system in Nigeria, yet they seem reluctant to embrace the reforms, such as state police.

Contrary to the opinion of some stakeholders, the introduction of state police does not mean the abrogation of the federal police. Both levels of policing will exist and collaborate, with jurisdictions clearly spelt out. It may equally present an opportunity to take an in-depth look into the powers of state governors as well as the immunity granted their offices.

The benefits of state police outweigh the challenge of abuse by political office holders.

The reality is that about 80% of states, in response to local challenges, already have their police in the form of Hisbah, Amotekun, traffic and environmental management agencies, etc.

A formal review of policing to the concurrent legislative list will enable proper recruitment, training and introduction of SOPs and accountability in the states.

It is the easiest way to achieve the benefits of community policing. It could make it difficult for powerful individuals to get away with appropriation of local resources hiding under the “protection” of federal police.

The introduction of state police in Nigeria is an idea whose time has come and it is hoped that the Nigerian media will align with the consensus achieved by political institutions and other critical stakeholders towards amendment of the Nigerian constitution accordingly, as well as other required steps towards the implementation.

Osisanya is a retired senior Immigration Officer

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