Opinion

State Police: The Funding Challenge

Even if the National Assembly and the President deliver a new law empowering state policing, it is still in doubt if the formations in the states will be able to work effectively and efficiently.

In an interview on Channels Television, Politics on Sunday recently, Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinnma, who said there was need for effective collaboration between the State Governors and the Federal Government-controlled security agencies to mitigate the scary security situation in the country, maintained that funding state policing was huge and be beyond financial strength of many states.

He said, “Security is very expensive, and I can’t see any subnational government in Nigeria today that can fund, completely, the cost of providing adequate security in the various subnational governments. So, working together as a Federation in synergy with the federal security system… When people say governors are handicapped, I don’t know what they are talking about. Yes, we need the support of the Federal Government; we need to articulate properly, working in synergy with federal security agencies as a subnational government, how we can create a working relationship that will allow us to be on the same page to be able to fight crime in the country.

“The reason why we must align with the Federal Government is that the economy of some subnational governments is lean, the funding requirement is enormous. So, it has to be through collaboration.

“Even when the federal government has allowed the vigilante approach, how many states have been able to fund an effective and efficient vigilante organization? State Police will only work if the states are in a position to fund it! So, when we talk about true federalism, we aren’t joking.

“As I speak, many of our states can’t even fund their existence without an allocation from the federal government, and the meaning of government isn’t coming to consume. The meaning of government is that you fend for yourself; you make the money before you can spend it.

To retired Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Mike Okiro, the decentralisation of the Nigeria Police Force would not achieve its desired objective because the factors that led to its failure in the past have not been addressed.

Okiro spoke with journalists on the sideline of the 2023 Convention of the Old Seminarians Association of Nigeria (OSAN), hosted by the Clerk to the Senate, Mr. Chinedu Akubueze, in Abuja.

He said the state police idea might not work due to paucity of funds at both the state and local government areas.

He wondered how the states and local government areas that could not effectively pay the salaries of their workers would be able to fund their own police.

Okiro, however, said the only way the state police could work was for Nigeria to embrace the Canadian model.

The Canadian model, according to him, would involve the states recruiting the police personnel who would be funded by the Federal Government.

He said, “The only way we can have state police in Nigeria is to adopt the Canadian model, where every region has its own police employed by the region and paid by the federal government.

“If you adopt state police, the state government that cannot pay teachers, nurses and doctors, can they pay the police?

“You cannot afford to owe the police one month’s salary, insecurity will be at the highest level in that state. If the state governments can’t pay the civil servants, I wonder how they can pay the police,” Okiro warned.

A human rights lawyer Monday Ubani says the country should not rush the creation of state police but make it optional.

“That’s why I’m saying that it’s not something we rush and just. All the stakeholders must permit and debate the issue. Now the Senate has considered the amendment committee of our Constitution,” he said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday.

“This is the time for this matter to be brought before the new committee in order to amend our constitution because you have to amend the constitution in the first place.

The former vice-president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) said: “We must also make it optional.

“That is very important because any state that wants to run a state policing system must have the requisite funding, make sure that we have the requisite number of police and all the things that they require in terms of kitting, welfare, and all the instruments they will use in order to ensure effective policing system in the various states will be made available.” :

Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button