BATON ROUGE, LA- In response to the rising insecurity and killings in Nigeria, the Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, is set to sponsor a bill to decentralise nation’s policing system.
Ekweremadu slammed the current system as “dysfunctional and unsuitable for a federal system”.
He gave the indication during an interactive session with Fulbright Scholars, Exchange Scholars, and Graduate Students at the International Centre for Information and Nelson Mandela Institute of Research in his maiden lectures as a Professor and Senior Mentoring Scholar, E-Governance and Strategic Government Studies, Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Social Sciences, Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.
Reacting to numerous concerns and questions posed to him on the rising killings and insecurity in Nigeria, the Senator said the killings had continued mainly because the federating states were not constitutionally allowed to recruit, train, and equip enough manpower for the security of lives and property of citizens in their states.
“Unlike here in the United States where the component states, counties, big institutions set up police service to address their local needs, the Nigerian constitution vests the security of a very vast, multifarious, and highly populated country in hands of the Federal Government.
“The internal security of Nigeria depends on one man or woman, who sits in Abuja as the Inspector-General of Police. The governor of a state, though designated as the chief security officer of the state by the constitution, cannot direct the Police Commissioner of his State on security matters. The Commissioner will have to clear with the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, who will clear with a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, who will also clear with the Inspector-General of Police, who may in turn need to clear with the President, who is the Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces. By the time the clearance comes, if it ever does, it would have been late..
“Nigeria is the only federal system I know, which operates a unitary or centralised policing. Ironically, it was not the case in the beginning. The founding fathers agreed on a federal constitution, which allowed the component units to set up local police organisations. But it was overturned by the military and successive civilian regimes have continued to play the ostrich”, Ekweremadu said.
On the way forward, he said: “As far as I am concerned, whatever we are doing now is certainly not working and we cannot continue to do the same thing and expect a different result.
“The real tragedy of the Plateau massacre is that we risk more attacks and loss of lives unless we decentralise our policing and allow every state at least to take their fates in their own hands.
“So, despite the failure of previous attempts to decentralise the police during constitution amendments, I will introduce a bill that will bring about state police or decentrliase…