NBA calls for caution on state police

NBA calls for caution on state police

Thursday, July 5, 2018 10:32 pm

Police in action

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has advised politicians to be cautious in their clamour for the adoption of state police in the country.

Prof. Adele Jinadu, lead speaker at a conference organised by Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL), an arm of the NBA made this call on Thursday in Abuja.

He said that Nigeria must be careful to avoid a situation where the state police would be abused by state governors, all in the name of ensuring security in their domains.

According to Jinadu, there is possibility of abuse by state officials, especially to harass their political opponents.

“We need to be careful to avoid the possibility for abuse, we are coming from a past experience equivalent to what we can call state police and they were used to harass political opponents.

“We may not have adequate provision for them now just as we have for the federal police, it is important we keep this in mind before the adoption.

“If we must adopt that, mechanism to checkmate abuses must be put in place,’’ Jinadu cautioned.

Earlier, Mr Akaraiwe Ikeazor, one of the panelists, who aligned himself with the submission of Jinadu, said that Nigeria was too large to have a central police as its being run presently.

Ikeazor, who cited the case of Chibok and Dapchi girls abduction, said that if state police were on ground, the abductors would find it difficult to take those girls away.

“We call ourselves Federal Republic of Nigeria; we are running a unitary system doing the opposite of what we call ourselves.

“Nigeria is too large and populous to have a central police; It is not that we are not aware of the likely abuse by the state governors but we must work to avoid that.

“What we need is to borrow a leaf from the third schedule of the Constitution that sets up the National Judicial Council (NJC) to oversee some aspects of the judicial system.

“Let the Nigeria Police Commission become the equivalent of the NJC to oversee the administration of the state police, the governors cannot appoint or sack the state police commissioner and Deputy Police Commissioner without going through the commission,’’ he said.

He also recommended that any offence committed above three years should be handled by the federal police.

Ikeazor stressed the need to employ and deploy more police officers to check insecurity in the country.

The panelist explained that offences committed less than three years should be handled by state police while any offence within six months should be handled by the local police.

Ikhide Ehighelua, also a panelist, called on the National Assembly not to deny Nigerians their rights as stipulated by the constitution since the debate on the creation of state police was ongoing in the upper and lower chambers.

According to him, operating state police will go a long way to reduce in crimes and address some of the security challenges in the society.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference with the theme: “Adapting Nigeria’s Federalism to a time of Rising Insecurity’’ was attended by legal luminaries and Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).

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