The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to “throw his weight behind the creation of state police” as a panacea to rising security concerns in the country.
Ekweremadu’s call was contained in a statement on Thursday by his Special Adviser on Media, Uche Anichukwu.
Anichukwu said the deputy Senate president made the call when he spoke at the opening of a two-day conference on the implementation of the autonomy of State Legislature and State Judiciary.
The deputy Senate president blamed the rising security challenges on the unitary police system prescribed by the constitution, noting that the best option was not to run away from decentralised policing.
He added that the best option was to ensure appropriate checks in terms of recruitment, appointment of police chiefs, control, logistics, funding, among others, to guide against possible abuse by state governors.
He suggested the establishment of a National Police Service Commission that would exercise a level of oversight over the activities of the state police.
According to Ekweremadu, the oversight should include maintaining common facilities for all police services in the country, including training, criminal intelligence data bases, forensic laboratories, among others.
He said: “The NPSC should also run a system of inspectorates and certification such as supervision of recruitment, training, supervision of standards, and annual certification of every state police service.
“There should also be a body known as State Police Service Commission for the states and should comprise a representative of the Executive to be appointed by the governor and representative of the Federal Government to be appointed by the NPSC.
“It should also comprise two independent experts in security matters to be appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by the state house of assembly, and a representative each of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
“Others are a retired police officer not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police, representative of the Nigerian Bar Association, representative of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, and representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and other relevant civil organisations, as the case may be.
“The body should be responsible for the recruitment, appointment and disciplining of the members of the state police force.
“Importantly, the funding of state police should be a first line charge on the state account or it can be deducted at source from the Federation Account and paid to the Police Service Commission for onward disbursement to respective state police service commissions.
“There should be an Act of the National Assembly stipulating the type of arms that can be acquired by a sub-national police and also unacceptable conducts, which can lead to the sanction of a sub-national police command.”
On affordability, Ekweremadu explained that state police would not be compulsory as those with the resources could establish one, while those without the resources could continue to rely on the federal police until they were able to establish one.