The security system in Nigerian on Monday received a major push as President Muhammadu Buhari on endorsed the establishment of state and local government police.
The issue of state police has been a subject of controversy over the years as many interest groups argued for, or against it’s establishment. Those who argues for its establishment argued that it is the best way to secure the society. They believed a community is better policed by men drawn within it that knows the people, the traditions, and culture. It is believed by them that bringing a police officer to police a community from another different cultures is not only counter productive, but also leads to inefficiency as such officers has no loyalty to such communities.
On the other hand, those who are against fear what such local force will become in the hands of politicians. They believe the force could be abused and turned into a tool of oppression by those who hold power.
At the fore front of the advocacy for a state police is Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who throughout his tenure as Attorney General of Lagos State advocated for the creation of State Police. The Professor of Law wrote copiously on the advantages of state police many times.
The announcement by President Buhari can therefore be seen, not only as victory for Osinbajo, but also all advocates of creation of state police. It however remains to be seen whether the president will sent a bill creating state and local government police to the National Assembly to give the creation the backing of the law.
President Buhari at the occasion also approved the dismissal of 37 police officers as recommended by the National Human Rights Commission Presidential Special Panel on SARS Reforms.
This was contained in the statement by the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission and Chairman Presidential Panel on SARS Reform, Anthony Ojukwu, during the submission of report of the Presidential Panel on the reform of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), of the Nigeria Police, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Panel according to Ojukwu received 113 complaints on alleged human rights violations from across the country and 22 memoranda on suggestions on how to reform and restructure SARS and the Nigeria Police in general.
He said, “At the end of its public hearing and having listened to complaints as well as defendants and their counsel, the Panel recommended thirty seven (37) Police ofﬁcers for dismissal from the force. Twenty four (24) were recommended for prosecution.
“The panel also directed the Inspector General of Police to unravel the identity of twenty two (22) ofﬁcers involved in the violation of the human rights of innocent Citizens.
“The police was directed to pay compensation of various sums in forty—ﬁve (45) complaints and tender public apologies in ﬁve (5) complaints and directed to obey court orders in ﬁve (5) matters.
“The Police was directed to immediately arrest and prosecute two (2) retired senior Police ofﬁcers found to have violated the rights of citizens (one for extra-judicial killing and the other for illegal takeover of Property of a suspect). The Panel also recovered two vehicles illegally auctioned by SARS Ofﬁcers and returned them to their owners.”
Some other key recommendations of the Panel include,” Signiﬁcant improvement in the funding, kitting and facilities of the Nigeria Police Force; Strengthening Information and Communication Technology of the Force; Establishment of State and local government Police.”