By Bolaji Buhari
A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Olisa Agbakoba on Monday said the creation of state police was “more than necessary” to address the security issues in the country.
Agbakoba made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He was reacting to renewed clamour for the creation of state police in view of the prevailing security situation in the country.
The Senate had on Tuesday, July 3 passed a resolution directing its Constitutional Review Committee to set up a mechanism to amend the constitution to allow for state police.
The resolution followed concerns raised by Sen. Jonah Jang about killings in Plateau State and other parts of the country.
Agbakoba said the centrally-controlled police could not provide adequate security cover for the country, pointing out that state police would strengthen security.
“The new momentum for state police is a welcome development. The creation of state police at this critical time is more than necessary.
“You see, I feel sorry for the Inspector-General of Police who has to sit down in Abuja and monitor the entire criminal justice system in Nigeria.
“It is not just possible .There is nowhere in the world where you have the kind of the Nigerian policing structure where everything is controlled from the centre.
“The typical thing is that not only you need the state police to provide adequate security, you also need local government police,’’ he said.
Agbakoba said that the state police was part of what had been widely discussed in the larger issue of restructuring.
He said the broader issue in the discussion was devolution of powers from Federal Government to States.
Agbakoba added that there was the need for the central government to devolve powers to the states to allow the latter run their affairs efficiently, including security.
On whether state police would not be abused by governors to fight opposition, Agbakoba answered in the negative.
He said once the policing option was anchored on the right constitutional provisions to guard against abuse, state police would operate efficiently.
“What we need to do is just introduce into the constitution, regulations that would not allow governors to control the police.
“The governors will not have authority to appoint or dismiss police heads. All these will be guaranteed.
“After all, the judiciary is functioning independently. It is functioning because there is the National Judicial Council in the constitution performing the functions of judicial policies, appointments, dismissals and retirements,’’ Agbakoba said.