Another topical case has been brought forth in the Courtroom this week, as a call for a non-Nigerian-factor-stricken judgment. The suit brought under the judgmental lens states thus, ‘State Police – to be or Not to Be’. This, in essence, has been in proactive response to the recent argumentative vapour spread across the national atmosphere concerning the sore need for a working and reliable security mechanism— the police force particularly. Whether there should be the introduction of a state-owned police forc e— as underscored by Vice President Osinbajo— or not, is the case to be diced for Courtroom examination.
The Defending Counsel has brought, to view, his angle of perception in this tug of words. This court has been made to understand that state-controlled police force is the secure way to tread in our search for impervious security. The Defending Counsel strides on, by dint of words, as he further mentions that though the NPF-familiar problem of corruption may still parasitically be a part of the advocated state-owned police, the devil with a lower vicious demeanour may be gone for— the state police force, he states. He has also brought, to public clarity, his thought that state-controlled policing will not come ridding the nation of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). He says that it will rather work with the NPF, as a coupled security mechanism, such that there will then be the classification of crime sanctions into federal and state. He lays credence to his argument by citing a poll where 61℅ of Nigerians supported the entrenchment of state police force into the workings of the Nigerian society.
As for the Prosecuting Counsel, however, ‘for what exactly?’ defines his angle of cogitation. In extending his disagreeing opinion, he has explained, to this court, possible unsavoury end products that the much-sought state police force threateningly poses. He argues that in the well-known situation where, verifiably, a number of states have found the payment of workers’ salaries and retirees’ pensions as difficult as the job of a funambulist, can we be sure that regional management of the police will not correspond to suicide sentence? The Prosecuting Counsel has thus established the possibility that we will only have a regular industrial action by the sought state police, hence, facilitating debilitating, malignant actions by evil mongers. Furthering his take, he also mentions that the introduction of state police may inadvertently be the escalation of secessionist propensity, amongst other unhealthy proclivities— favouritism and its children.
Having listened to and dissected the words of the two counsels whose surgical logics have paved way for thoughtful reflections, the verdict must, therefore, come taking its course.
But, first, I want every one of us, Nigerians, to understand and, perhaps, re-understand that the unrepentant pest that has continuously burrowed into our national fruits, rendering them insalubrious, is none other than the Nigerian beetles. And who are these beetles? Of course, the ones who are supposed to gallantly represent us but rather jubilantly denigrate us. On clear terms, it was recently fed to the utter disgust and fuelled distrust of the public by the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) that some supposed VIPs and politicians hoard the already hardly sufficient policemen for their personal security when the nation wails for lack of public security. How considerate!
Now dealing with whether or not state-run policing be adopted, I insightfully opine that the arguments of the two counsels are doubtlessly well-founded. Nonetheless, the weightier one must necessarily take the foreground, in order to suggest probable solutions to the foreboding security threats. While the Defending Counsel has dwelled his argument on the opinion that state-run policing will allow for a more ‘penetrative force’ and homogeneous means of easily tackling security issues, the Prosecuting Counsel has contrarily sailed his argument towards the claim that the said homogeneity will only fuel prospective inter-tribal clashes and ‘secessionist tendencies’.
From the foregoing, I must hence clearly state that my verdict is that we retain the nationally-controlled police system; that is, the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) should remain. No need for state police bodies. Even when it might have been truly argued that Albert Einstein had said that repeating the same thing, in expectation of a new result, suggests foolishness; may I swiftly remind us of Thomas Edison’s lightbulb success which was but a product of a thousand failure? Nevertheless, this is not to say we should keep at our perennial policing failure. We can really make an amalgam of the messages passed by Einstein’s words and Edison’s experience, by retaining the NPF and also ensuring landmark improvement of it.
To allow states control their own police forces is simply to empower and embolden already lurking evil plots which will only consequently constitute more endangering internal unrests. No doubt that the establishment of state police force will ensure easier nabbing of errant groups or gangs. But I still say, the ease with which they will nab errant groups is tantamount to that with which they will rise in garnered force against the country, if with a secessionist or other nationally unhealthful agenda. And this, possibly leading to another civil war, may only lead to a fatal genocidal effect, no way matched by the recent spates of killings.
Therefore, the government is earnestly pleaded with to not be unyielding to the advice that the idea of state-controlled police force be abolished .All that we need is that policemen be geographically distributed across the country, as apt. The quick withdrawal of the VIPs-serving policemen which cover 80℅ of the total number of policemen the country has— as hinted by the AIG— must also be seen to as due, for this is even related to a part of President Buhari’s promises— except he wishes to further disappoint us, Nigerians. Generally, the NPF should remain; and grand improvement should be ensured. The heady IGP who had deserted Benue as against the presidential instructions should, as well, be interrogated and sanctioned— if need be— appropriately.
This is my verdict in this Courtroom.
School: University of Ibadan
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