New Telegraph

Security Challenges And The Urgency Of State Police

Nigeria’s current security problem has caused many other problems. These include hunger and severe poverty. It has reached a disturbing and threatening dimension.

The situation may continue to degenerate unless an immediate solution is put in place. It is a fact that people who are from any particular area know the area more than people who are not from that area. People who were born and raised in every community or local government area know all the nooks and crannies of the area.

Going by the current security situation in the country, employing people from every community to help secure their communities has become inevitable. In many countries of the world, it has been proven that local police have been used to eradicate various security challenges.

In New York State, United States, the New York Police Department works round the clock to contain criminals. The New York Police Department is a local police; it is not the state trooper, which is the New York State Police, neither is it a unit of the FBI, which serves as Federal Police in United States.

The Nigeria National Assembly should amend the Constitution and create state police and Local government police immediately. Some people have, understandably, argued against the establishment of these security organisations at the state and local levels.

They are of the views that states will not be able to fund the organisations and that governors will use them to persecute real and perceived enemies. These may by true and a disadvantage of creating state and local government police, however, the advantages of creating state police and local government police are much better than the disadvantages.

The National Assembly is made up of great thinkers who can package some legislation that will make it impossible for governors to misuse state and local police. There are also many other great Nigerians who can also suggest ways to prevent governors from abusing state and local police. These suggestions will be put together as pieces of legislation to achieve the desired result.

Funding

Security of lives and properties are a serious national concern. Nigeria should run federal-funded, state-controlled, state and local government police. The National Assembly should devise a means of funding state and local government police from the Federation Account.

If what it will cost Nigeria is ‘huge funding’ to create state and local government police in order to solve the current security problem in the country, then such funding is not a waste, it is useful. Furthermore, what is today known as “security votes” should be converted to funding state police and local government police.

Over the years, these huge amounts of money known as “security votes” have not served the purposes they are meant to serve. It is time to channel the money to a valuable expenditure. Laws should be put in place that the monthly allocation to the state police and local government police from the monthly Federation Account should go straight to state police account.

Governors and other state officials should not have access to the state police account. The state commissioner of Police and the Police Management Body should manage the fund to serve the purposes they are meant for, like payment of salaries and allowances.

The funds should go to the state police account directly from the Federation Account. Any other possible means through which the state police can be funded from the Federation Account should be devised by the National Assembly.

If all and what it will take Nigeria is to fund local security from the Federation Account in order to solve our protracted security problem, then such expenditure is worth doing, it is not a waste.

Structure

The state and local government police may be joined; that is a two-in-one police arrangement. It may be organised in such a way that in posting personnel of state police to every local government area, 60 percent of them will be natives of the same local government area while the other 40 percent of the personnel will be natives of other parts of the same state.

In Imo State, for example, 60 percent of personnel of Imo State Police serving in Oguta Local Government Area will be natives, while the remaining 40 per cent will be natives of other parts of Imo State. This should be the posting arrangement nationwide; that natives of every local government area have majority of the officers and men of the state police serving in every local government area.

Furthermore, state police should be structured like the current Federal Mobile Police Unit. Their trainings should be like the current mobile police. Their operations should be the same. They will patrol all the nooks and crannies of the communities that make up their local government areas in order to ensure that criminals such as armed robbers, armed kidnappers and others do not operate within their areas.

Patrol vehicles, communication devices and other modern tools they need to work with should be provided to them by the federal and state governments. State governments should also boost the morale of their police in any way they can like buying more patrol vehicles and assisting them financially.

Accommodation

Between three and five modern police barrack should be built in every local government area for officers and men of state police, depending on the size of the local government area. Officials of state police should have three shifts arrangements; every shift should be eight hours.

They should work with the locals to prevent crimes. Using their patrol vehicles to patrol the local government should be their primary assignment. People living in their area of responsibility should be encouraged to call them whenever they suspect any security threat.

Recruitment

People who will be hired to work for the state police should be people who are educated up to OND, NCE and First Degree levels. They will be trained at the State Mobile Police College that will be built in three or four different parts of the state. The commissioner of police should be the highest ranking officer of the state police.

Prosecutorial powers

The state police need to be equipped with the legal power to arrest, investigate and prosecute criminals. This legal power will make it possible for them to work effectively.

Bearing of arms

The personnel of state police should also bear arms. This will make them to effectively contain violent criminals.

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