I am an ardent believer in the separation of power. It ensures that no single arm of government has too much of power.
The intent of separation of powers is to prevent the concentration of unchecked power and to provide for checks and balances in governance.
I had on many instances sided with the National Assembly on issues of national concern but this time I vehemently dis agree with the assembly on the State Police.
While the Executive may be reluctant in introducing a bill on the state Police the assembly should not because of some infringements in the political space hasten to legislate on the creation of state police without looking at our history as a people and where we are coming from.
The Nigeria Police is an amalgamation of the various para military establishments in the regions that constitute the entity we call Nigeria today.
In 1879 a total number of 1,200-member armed paramilitary Hausa Constabulary was formed. This was followed by the setting up of the Lagos Police in 1896.
The Niger Coast Constabulary, was formed in Calabar in 1894 under the newly proclaimed Niger Coast Protectorate.
In the north, the Royal Niger Company set up the Royal Niger Company Constabulary in 1888.
When the protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria were proclaimed in the early 1900s, part of the Royal Niger Company Constabulary became the Northern Nigeria Police, and part of the Niger Coast Constabulary became the Southern Nigeria Police. For most of the time during the colonial period, the police were associated with local governments (native authorities).
In the 1960s, under the First Republic, these forces were first regionalised and then nationalised.
The reasons that gave rise for the nationalization and the unification of the police force are relevant then and still now.
The clamour for the setting up of the state Police arises from the dis satisfactions of how the National Police locates its loyal.
The state governors who are the chief security officers in their respective state feel they are not getting the cooperation and loyalty from the Commissioners of Police in their states. They accuse the state police commissioners of siding with the central government.
This position arguably does not appeal to reason more especially when governors from states controlled by the central government also complained of lack of similar cooperation from the Police.
The other school of thought that argue for the state police do so on the premise that if police recruitments are done from the catchment areas or simply put from indigenes of a particular state it would be easy to police the community. This argument is un tenable and simplistic considering the level of sophistication and changes the society has undergone.
Crime and criminality in the society has gone beyond human physical surveillance. The limitations of the human ability in geo physical surveillance is vivid and empirical it does not need any scientific postulation to prove that. The widening scope in spatial settlement increases the burden in the human ability to protect and provide proper surveillance of its environment.
Time and space plays a very important role in dealing with crime in our sophisticated society today.
Even countries that we are looking up to and setting our bench mark for success and using it for the need to create state police did not make it because of physical human surveillance. They rely heavily on some combination of factors such as technology, citizen participation and ethos of policing policies.
The argument that the creation of state Police will address our security challenges in the country is not only simplistic, not well thought out, but selfish and stupid.
This is considering the fact that we are not looking at our history as a people and also learning what is going in our current political space.
The call for the state police is not different from that of restructuring the country.
Recent history has shown that every effort put in place by the crafters of our national constitution to devolve powers to state for smooth governance has failed woefully.
Take for example the powers devolved to the state by the constitution to supervise the local government adminitration and conduct elections in to there councils. which of it is being successfully carried out the by governors that you can vouch has reached the minimum standard of international best practices.
The local government councils are still glorified administrative villages and drain pipes of our collective national wealth.
Recently I visited china I was amazed by the development in their Provinces and local councils. In each of the Provinces which is analogous to our state capitals you can five at least five standard international airports, first track railway services connecting the provinces and the local and communities.
Citizens can afford to live hundreds of miles away from their work place and yet commute easily from work place to their homes.
What we need really is the development of our infrastructure not the constant elite propaganda of restructuring or state place.
We shown our massive failure in managing some of the powers devolved to the others tiers government by the constitution. We have squandered the stupendous resources meant for the development of our infrastructure.
We must allow the national assembly to impose the state police on us unless if we are prepared to put this country on flames. For the governors to have their state police simply means are inviting chaos and anarchy.
We have witness enough clashes between the police and military and even between the police and police.
We must allow the agitators of the state police divide us as a people.
We must device a policing policy that would take care of some the infringements that may occur in our march towards developing a viable nation state.
The national assembly must not rush the bill on state police, it must consult far and wide before it put this country on “flames”.