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State police ’ll worsen insecurity, says Yakassai

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Tanko Yakasai. Photo: PULSENG

Founding member of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Tanko Yakasai, has warned advocates of state police to be wary of plunging the country into more dangerous security problem.

This was contained in his memorandum to the Senate Committee on the Review of the 199 Constitution, made available to The Guardian in Abuja yesterday.

The former Liaison Officer to President Shehu Shagari in the Second Republic said Nigeria was suffering from security challenges not because it needed additional layer of policing but because the country was being governed badly.

His words: “We must understand that insecurity in Nigeria is a manifestation of our failure as a nation to prioritise our expenditure and make the required investment in education, agriculture, power, social safety nets and other areas that will impact employment, family income and increase opportunities for young people.

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“No amount of policing will stop a hungry and jobless population from engaging in criminality. In a country where more than half of able-bodied young people and over 30 per cent of the total population are jobless, rising rates of crime is inevitable. No country can effectively police 70 million jobless people.”

Rather than expend energy and resources on creating an additional layer of policing, he suggested that the country revisited the way its policy priorities.

“We must stop spending 70 per cent of our resources to run our government. Invest the resources in the right policy areas and stop diverting public funds from their intended use. Unless we do these, we are going to continue to produce an army of jobless young people who will continue to resort to crime as their only survival option.

“Nigeria must stop paying lip service to reforming the federal police by paying adequate attention to their welfare, training, discipline, equipment and then increase their number. A nation of 200 million people cannot be adequately covered by a police force of 300,000 personnel that is ill-trained, ill-equipped, ill-motivated and mainly deployed to protect political office holders and other important people, not citizens,” he added.

According to him, funding of the state police will further compound the financial challenges faced by all the 36 states of the federation, including Lagos.

“All the states are heavily indebted. Recently, Kaduna State Government had to retrench workers to be able to pay salaries, leading to a face-off with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

“We all know the potential consequences of arming law enforcement agents and then owing them months of wages.”

According to him, majority of those advocating state police believe that Nigeria’s security challenges could only be effectively tackled at the grassroots, through the creation of an additional layer of policing at the state level.

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