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Monday, July 15, 2024

State Police: CLEEN Foundation drums support for Tinubu-led FG, offers recommendations 

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CLEEN Foundation has commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s consideration for state Police creation across the 36 states of Nigeria following the rising insecurity in Nigeria.

The Foundation also offered vital recommendations to facilitate the successful implementation of the state Police in Nigeria.

The Executive Director of the CLEEN Foundation, Mr. Gad Peter made the commendation and recommendations in a statement he personally signed on Friday.

The statement reads in full: “As an integral part of our nation’s ongoing efforts to enhance security and ensure the safety of all citizens, the CLEEN Foundation stands in full support of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s consideration regarding the establishment of state police in Nigeria. This strategic move, although long-awaited, reflects a proactive approach to address the evolving security challenges facing our nation, and we commend the President of the Federal Government of Nigeria, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for his visionary leadership in this regard.

“The President’s consideration for the establishment of state police aligns with the principle of subsidiarity, whereby law enforcement responsibilities are decentralised to meet better the unique security needs of citizens and people living and working in Nigeria. By empowering state governments to maintain law and order within their respective jurisdictions, the creation of state police forces will enable more effective and efficient response to local security threats and incidents.

“In light of this, CLEEN Foundation offers the following recommendations to facilitate the successful implementation of state police in Nigeria:

Constitutional Amendment: We advocate for the necessary constitutional amendments to accommodate the establishment and regulation of state police forces while ensuring appropriate checks and balances to safeguard against abuse of power. Some of the critical sections that may need to be amended include:

“Section 214: This section establishes the Nigeria Police Force as the primary law enforcement agency in the country. Amendments may be required to allow for the creation of state police forces alongside the national police force.

Section 215: This section outlines the powers and functions of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) as the head of the Nigeria Police Force. Amendments may be necessary to delineate the relationship between the IGP and state police commissioners or equivalent officials.

Section 216: This section provides for the organisation and administration of the Nigeria Police Force. Amendments may be required to allow for the organisation and administration of state police forces in addition to the national police force.

“Section 217: This section empowers the President to establish and maintain armed forces for the defence of Nigeria. Amendments may be needed to clarify the respective roles and responsibilities of the federal government and state governments in establishing and maintaining police forces.

Section 318: This section defines key terms used in the Constitution. Amendments may be necessary to define terms such as “police” and “law enforcement agency” to include both national and state police forces.

“Schedule 2, Part I & II: These sections list the exclusive and concurrent legislative powers of the federal and state governments, respectively.

Amendments may be required to allow state governments to legislate on matters related to the establishment, organisation, and administration of state police forces.

“Schedule 4, Part I: This section lists the exclusive legislative powers of the National Assembly. Amendments may be necessary to allow the National Assembly to legislate on matters related to the establishment and regulation of state police forces.

“Amending these sections of the Constitution would be essential to provide the legal framework necessary for the establishment and operation of state police forces in Nigeria while ensuring appropriate checks and balances to safeguard against abuse of power and maintain national unity and cohesion.

Capacity Building: Prioritize investments in training, equipment, and infrastructure to build the capacity of state police units, enabling them to effectively combat crime and uphold the rule of law.

Inter-agency Collaboration: Foster collaboration and coordination between state police forces, federal law enforcement agencies, and other relevant stakeholders to enhance information sharing, joint operations, and intelligence-led policing efforts. State police vary in their structure and jurisdictional scope depending on the country’s legal and administrative framework.

“In the United States, for example, most states have their own state police or highway patrol agencies tasked with enforcing traffic laws, investigating crimes, providing assistance to local law enforcement, and ensuring public safety on highways and in rural areas. Whereas in Nigeria, the term “state police” has been used to advocate for the establishment of police forces at the state level, separate from the federal Nigeria Force.

“Whatever structure the proposed state police may assume, it should be focused on fostering collaboration and coordination between state police forces, federal law enforcement agencies, and other relevant stakeholders to address local security challenges and improve law enforcement by being more responsive to the needs of specific states.

Community Engagement: We recommend that the proposed state police structure should embrace and promote community-oriented policing approaches to cultivate trust, cooperation, and partnership between state police officers and the communities they serve, thereby enhancing public safety and security.

Accountability Mechanisms: Establish robust mechanisms for oversight, transparency, and accountability to ensure that state police forces operate with integrity, professionalism, and respect for human rights. It’s important to note that implementing effective accountability mechanisms for state policing in Nigeria will require cooperation and collaboration between government institutions, law enforcement agencies, civil society organisations, and the public.

“Additionally, there may be challenges related to funding, political will, and cultural attitudes toward law enforcement that need to be addressed. Establishing a State Police Service Commission that is independent from the Executive arm of the government of the state could be an effective accountability mechanism for state policing in Nigeria. This commission would be responsible for overseeing the recruitment, training, discipline, and general administration of the state police force.

Resource Allocation: Allocate sufficient financial resources to support the recruitment, training, and retention of more qualified personnel, as well as the procurement of modern technology and equipment necessary for effective state policing. These might pose a severe burden on the federal government of Nigeria.

“However, introducing fiscal federalism could potentially alleviate this burden. Fiscal federalism involves the decentralisation of fiscal responsibilities and resources to lower levels of government, such as state or local governments.

Develop clear operational framework: Develop clear and comprehensive legal frameworks governing the operations of state police forces, including protocols for collaboration with federal agencies, jurisdictional boundaries, and mechanisms for addressing grievances and complaints.

Public Awareness Campaigns: Launch public awareness campaigns to educate citizens about the role and responsibilities of state police forces, as well as their rights and obligations in supporting law enforcement efforts.

In conclusion, the establishment of state police in Nigeria represents a significant step forward in our collective quest for enhanced security and sustainable development.

“By rallying behind the President’s vision and implementing these recommendations, development partners and critical stakeholders can pave the way for a safer, more secure, and prosperous future for all Nigerians”, Peter stated.

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