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A Nigerian version of state police


Nigeria Police Force

Sir: The apparent failure of federal security arrangements in recent times, to meet the challenges of national security, has heightened the debate about the issue of state police and the most appropriate police structure for the country. Existing examples from other climes show that each federal state in practice adopts a police structure that is tailored to suit its situation and needs. There is no one-cap-fits-all system. There are many federations that operate state police but several of them operate different systems. For instance, only three of the provinces in Spain have police forces. Others make do with the national police. Canada is a federation but only two of the provinces have their own provincial police forces. In
its other provinces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is in charge.

Italy has three national police forces but only some of the 109 provinces have provincial police forces. Considering the fact that Nigeria is grossly under-policed at present, the best solidarity the government can show to those who have lost relatives and friends to criminals, is to adopt a type of state police that could help to achieve a more efficient and effective policing of the entire country. In India, each state has its own police force headed by a Commissioner of Police. The Indian Police system could be adapted but it has to be modified and then applied in a way that control of the nation’s police force still remains with the Federal Government while security is enhanced. The Nigerian version of the state police could be experimented by simply changing the method of posting of policemen and women across the country.

Policing will be more effective and efficient if policemen and women are posted to their various states of origin, under a commissioner who is a non-indigene of the state. Deputy commissioners under him would also be non-indigenes. Under such system of posting, every police personnel would be compelled to become more responsible. Apart from being forced to get committed to his duties to show good performance before his bosses, the state commissioner would be in a better position to gather more accurate information from his sub-ordinates, arm himself and feed his superiors with same, in the overall interest of the job. Such system of posting would drive the passion of the police officer, who now realises that he is no longer just working for government, but also working for the security of his community. He understands that members of his community have his personal profile. So, he cannot afford to compromise security, shirk his responsibilities or under-perform. Otherwise, his job would be on the line.

An officer, who happens to be posted to his hometown, knows the terrain too well and would be able to do a better intelligence job and conduct more result-oriented investigations. However, as the police authorities move to review approach to policing, it is necessary for government to address failure of governance at all levels in terms of social services provision and infrastructure development, job creation and employment opportunities, epileptic power supply and general under-development amidst rising oil revenues. Government must ensure that urgent measures are taken to address the challenges of governance in fundamental and sustainable ways as part of measures to reduce crime rate.
Albinus Chiedu is a public analyst, Output Communications.

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Nigerian state police
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