Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu has sought for the support of President Muhammadu Buhari in the creation of state police as a form mitigating against the nation’s security upheavals.
Ekweremadu was speaking in Abuja on Thursday at the opening of a two-day conference on the implementation of autonomy of State Legislature and State Judiciary. He blamed the increased challenges experienced in the nation’s security on unitary police system prescribed by the constitution.
He said the nation should concentrate on Police recruitment policies, appointment of police chiefs, control, logistics, funding, among others, to guide against possible abuse by State Governors as feared by a section of the population.
The Enugu West Senator said the creation of a National Police Service Commission was to exercise oversight functions over the activities of the Police, especially in states and maintain common facilities for training, forensic studies, criminal data management and many others.
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, representative of the Federal Government to be appointed by the NPSC, 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 and the Trade Union Congress.
“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 organizations, 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 the 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 the 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”, he added.
Ekweremadu said the state police should not be made compulsory but can be used by individuals and states that can afford it. He added that those who can’t afford the state Police can stick to the federal Police.
“The important thing is to lay down the legal frameworks that authorise and regulate decentralised policing so that those who can afford it can start, hence I urge Mr. President to lend his political will and weight to the quest for decentralised policing”, Ekweremadu emphasised.
He further stated that “Our constitution contradicts, in several respects, the basic principles of democracy such as the separation of powers, checks and balances, and compromises the independence of the critical institutions of democracy.
“This is why the National Assembly has, starting from 2010, successfully altered the constitution to strengthen the principles of separation of powers, checks and balance, and indeed our democracy and good governance by placing the National Assembly, INEC, and most recently, the State Houses of Assembly and Judiciary on first line charge”.