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Call for state police: ACF, NEF, Afenifere, PANDEF back northern govs, monarchs

Ekiti passes bill; Kano in two weeks Jigawa to follow soon It’s nullity without N/Assembly approval – Prof Yadudu From Abdullateef Aliyu, Christiana Alabi (Lagos);…

  • Ekiti passes bill; Kano in two weeks
  • Jigawa to follow soon
  • It’s nullity without N/Assembly approval – Prof Yadudu

From Abdullateef Aliyu, Christiana Alabi (Lagos); Victor Edozie  (P/Harcourt), Lami Sadiq (Kaduna), Raphael Ogbonnaiye (Ado-Ekiti), Clement A. Oloyede (Kano), Abdullateef Salau, Balarabe Alkassim (Abuja) & Ali R. Ali (Dutse)

 

Regional leaders Wednesday supported the northern governors and traditional rulers for recommending the establishment of state police to address insecurity in the country.

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) applauded what they called a “bold step” by governors and traditional rulers from the region and hoped that the conversation would be sustained until the mission was accomplished.

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On the other hand, the Afenifere and the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) said all along they had been calling for the amendment of the Nigerian Constitution to allow states to establish their police, fund them and hold them to account if they failed to safeguard lives and property.

 Recall that the 19 northern governors led by Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State and traditional rulers from the region led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III met on Monday in Abuja and advised the National Assembly to remove police from the exclusive list in the constitution to clear the grounds for states to establish their police force.

It’s a welcome proposal- ACF

 The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said it was not averse to state police and welcomed the recommendations of the northern governors and monarchs.

The Secretary General of the ACF, Alhaji Murtala Aliyu told Daily Trust that the position of the ACF remained that states should be given the powers to police their jurisdictions.

“One of the major problems we have in the North is the size of the ungoverned spaces and we think conceding certain aspects of policing to the state governments will be fine.

“The only thing we know is that when the states are going to have their own police, it is a jurisdictional issue, there must be certain aspects of their policing job that maybe concurrent with the federal police and there are certain aspects that should just be for the federal police, but we are not averse to state police,” he said.

 

Next administration must prioritise state police- NEF

Speaking on the latest development, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) said it will now fall on the next administration to prioritise the issue of state police.

NEF through its Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, however, said this must be done in a “very calm and responsible manner.”

The forum, which ruled out the possibility of the current administration addressing the issue stressed that: “I don’t think this administration is disposed to handling matters of this magnitude. I don’t think this is the kind of thing this administration will venture into and I don’t see them undertaking this very sensitive assignment under an atmosphere of politics and campaign, it is the wrong time to do this.”

He said it is an issue that Nigeria’s next president, governors and federal and state legislators must prioritise.

“Our hope is that the recommendations of the traditional rulers will seed the current clamour for some major review of institutions and structures. But it should be done in a very calm and responsible manner. This should not be a political or campaign issue. We will like to see presidential candidates address this; both the issue of state police and wider issues about what to do about federal and state institutions as a campaign issue, because we will like to see them commit to something that they will do when they get power,” he said.

 

State police our dream – Afenifere

The Leader of the Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, yesterday said it was a good development that the northern leaders realised the need for state police, which Afenifere had been hammering on.

He, however, expressed doubt that the president would be interested in the state police.

“So if they want to do it, let them do it. It is a welcome idea if they do that.”

He said insecurity would not have festered if the state police had been in place as consistently demanded by Afenifere. 

“Do you know how many lives have been lost since we have not done this? Do you know how much our economy has been destroyed?

“Each region would have been able to take care of itself. How can you ask a Maiduguri man to come and take care of people in Owerri? Does he know the terrain or come to Ogun State, does he know the terrain? 

“Can you ask an Ogun man to go to Sokoto, where does he know there? This is common sense. These are the facts I have told them over the years. If the local police had been empowered, they would have stopped insecurity,” he said.

 

36 state govs should answer this call – PANDEF

On its part, PANDEF called on the 36 governors to support the call by the northern governors for the creation of state police.

Its National Publicity Secretary, Ken Robinson who spoke with our reporter in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday, said that the group was in total support of the northern governors’ position.

He said that the present composition of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) was overstretched and could not cater for the over 200million Nigerians.

“PANDEF is solidly behind northern governors’ call for state police and urged them to be very sincere and open in its position,” he said.

 

Ekiti Assembly approves state police

Amid the conversation in Abuja, the Ekiti State House of Assembly has gone ahead and approved the creation of state police and state judicial council.

The assembly said on Tuesday that this was in line with the ongoing fifth alteration to the amendment to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Presided over by Speaker Funminiyi Afuye, the Ekiti legislators said among other things that the constitutional amendment bill was transmitted to the House of Assembly from the National Assembly in March 2022 for input.

But those handling the matter at the National Assembly told the Daily Trust last night that state police was not part of the bills sent to state assemblies for ratification.

In Ekiti, the assembly leader of Government Business, Gboyega Aribisogan, told journalists that the lawmakers ratified the alteration to the issue of law reform in the country for radical improvement in the qualities of laws that will guide the three arms of government.

Aribisogan said: “At the plenary today, the Assembly approved some areas being considered for the amendment to the 1999 constitution by the National Assembly. What we did was just a concurrence to the amendments and not further alterations to what had been done by the National Assembly.

“These include the approval for the law mandating the state to have state police to improve security across the county. We also approved a law stating the procedure to be followed for the removal of the principal officers of the Houses of Assembly to ensure stability and improve the quality of governance.”

Kano to decide in 2 weeks

Commenting on the matter, the Deputy Speaker of Kano State House of Assembly, Kabiru Dashi Kiru told Daily Trust that the committee report on state police would be presented to the full house in the next two weeks and the House would ensure that the will of Kano people took precedence.

Kiru, who doubles as the chairman of the ad hoc committee on the review of the 44 clauses of the constitution review, said even as the deputy speaker, he could not give his own position on state police so as not to pre-empt the decision of the house because the contribution of every member was vital to the final decision.

“We are 40 members and I represent my constituency and it is possible for my interest or that of my constituency to be different from the other constituency. But I want to assure you that we will do what our people want. Even last week, we held a public hearing, which I presided over and we collected data from different stakeholders including traditional rulers.

“When the time comes, I will present the report and by then you will get the position whether Kano State House of Assembly is in favour of state police or not,” he said.

 

Jigawa Assembly back move

The Jigawa State House of Assembly has also joined the league of those in support of state police. The deputy speaker of the state assembly, Suleiman Musa Kadira made the assurance in a telephone interview.

Kadira said once the constitution gives the node to create state police, the assembly would do in support of the position of northern governors and monarchs.

 

Police bill not transmitted to states – Senate 

The Senate spokesperson, Ajibola Basiru, said state police was not part of the 44 bills transmitted to the state assemblies for concurrence.

“It is not there,” he said in response to the Daily Trust’s enquiry.

Also, a highly-placed source privy to the workings of the National Assembly constitution review committee said there was no state police among the bills sent to the state houses of assembly.

He said: “The constitution is very clear on amendments. The process starts with the National Assembly and ends with the presidency. We gave them 44 bills and there is no state police among them. 

“What the Ekiti Assembly did was passing a resolution urging the National Assembly to reconsider state police,” he said.

Our correspondent gathered from sources that at a recent meeting with the National Assembly, the state legislatures appealed for the reconsideration of the bill for the creation of state police.

The source, however, added that there was no assurance that the request will be considered or not.

Daily Trust reports that, of the 68 bills that were voted on earlier this year by both the Senate and House of Representatives, 44 were passed by both chambers and transmitted to the state legislatures for concurrence in March.

It’s nullity without N/Assembly approval – Prof Yadudu

A constitutional lawyer, Professor Auwalu Yadudu, said as lofty as the idea of states houses of assembly passing bills to create state police might be, the constitution only provides for a process whereby they can only ratify the concurrent considerations of the National Assembly.

He said, “For the constitution to be properly amended, there is a procedure, which is for the National Assembly to deliberate the bills for constitutional amendment and if adopted by the majority, they can then submit them to state assemblies for their concurrence with at least 2/3 concurrence.

“As desirable as it is for institutions to be created and as commendable as it is for states’ feeling about it, they cannot pass a bill adopting state police and make it a part of the constitutional amendment process.”

He added that “For any proposal to be ripe for consideration by the state house of assembly it has to be adopted by the concurrence and of the two houses of National Assembly with the required majority support. As desirable as it is for Ekiti and other states, that is the procedure.”

Asked if this means that the exercise by Ekiti is in futility, Yadudu said “It looks like it, though they are making their own point; maybe in the next round of constitution amendment, it may see the light of the day.”