Saturday, 8 June 2019

Governors Sharply Divided Over State Police

Governors have expressed divergent views on the growing clamour for the establishment of state police. They spoke yesterday after an expanded National Security Council (NSC) meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and the service chiefs and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors’ parley in Abuja. In an interaction with State House correspondents after the parley, Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said that the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) was yet to take a decision on state police.

But the PDP governors, who started a meeting on Thursday night till yesterday morning in Abuja, endorsed the creation of state police. They condemned the politicization of security apparatus and challenged the federal government to name states it accused of diverting local government’s funds.

The governors also demanded the quick action on the N30, 000 National Minimum Wage Law and hinged their support for state police on the worsening security situation in the country. Governor Fayemi, who is the NGF chairman, said that the meeting was at their instance as governors of the 36 states collectively.

 He briefed journalists alongside his colleagues from Ebonyi State, David Umahi, Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Simon Lalong (Plateau), and Babagana Zulum (Borno). The NGF chairman explained that the meeting centered on the security situation in the country and concerns about what’s going on across the nation.

 He hinted that a special National Economic Council (NEC) meeting would be convened on security issues with a view to finding lasting solutions to them. He said: “We had a very fruitful meeting with Mr. President. Of course, he was not oblivious of the challenges, he gets security reports on a daily basis; he understands what the issues are.

 But we felt as chief security officers in our respective states, it was important for us to at least keep him abreast on the enormity or the challenges we are facing and also highlight the concerns of our citizens across board about rural banditry, farmers/herders’ clashes, kidnapping, militancy in the Niger Delta, insurgency, and cultism. “We discussed extensively on these issues and looked at the various ways that we felt as governors we could assist Mr. President as the commander-in-chief to curb them.

 Of course, we were able to in the first instance look at the nexus between our economic and the security challenges, and the importance of tackling the causes of crime and not just crime on its own,” he stated. Fayemi added that the governors looked at the criminal justice system that appears to give room for impunity, noting that when people commit crimes and they are not punished effectively in accordance with the statutes it creates room for replicating such crimes.

While stating that the president is also concerned about that, Fayemi said: “He (Buhari) made it clear to us that we all knew that he campaigned on the basis of security, economy and accountability and these things are still the most germane issues on his agenda.

“And that he will also work with us to address questions of intelligence, of broadening community policing, of ensuring inter-service coordination among the various security agencies, of strengthening the criminal justice system, of working with our states innovatively on mechanism for addressing these issues. “Be it security trust fund that brings the public and the private players together in order to fund security and increase the resources available to security institutions.

“Already, all of us are involved in funding. There is no governor that is not buying security vehicles, ammunition for police, giving allowances to our security agencies be they State Security Services (SSS), or police, or in some cases the military, where it is involved. It is just to ensure that we have a better and more coordinated mechanism for addressing this,” he said.

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