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Nigeria not ripe for state police – Sen. Suswam

Former Benue governor, Gabriel Suswam, has kicked against the call for the establishment of a State Police, saying Nigeria is not mature enough for it.…

Former Benue governor, Gabriel Suswam, has kicked against the call for the establishment of a State Police, saying Nigeria is not mature enough for it.

“I won’t support the idea of having a Police Force controlled by the state governors. It is not good for Nigeria.

“The Inspector-General of Police has said that Nigeria is not mature for it and I agree with him totally,” Suswam told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

Th former governor and lawmaker argued that if established, the governors would use it to go after their political opponents.

“I was a governor for eight years and know the power the governors wield. If you add state police to them, the security situation will get just worse,” he said.

Suswam cited the governors’ attitude to local government elections as a prove that they were dictators, insisting that same will happen to the state police.

“Local governments are placed under the states and governors conduct elections into the councils.

“The ruling party always pick all the seats and won’t allow the opposition to pick even a councillor seat.

“To perfect such a dictatorship, they use the federal police, imagine what will happen when they have a state police force under their armpits,” he argued.

He recalled that the Native Police in Northern Nigeria was disbanded because of its arbitrariness and misuse of power, and feared that the same would happen if state police came on board.

“The hardline attitude of the Native Police will be a child’s play when compared with what state governors could do with a police force totally under their control,” he added.

Suswam, however, agreed that some governors would use the state police positively, but that majority of them would misuse such force.

“Clearly, the state police will breed crises and there will always be a clash between the state and federal police which may breed more insecurity and confusion,” he said.

He further expressed worry on the modalities the state governments would use to recruit the state policemen.

“There is unemployment everywhere; there is criminality around. There are also thugs ready for any assignment.

“The tendency is for governors to recruit these people and throw them at the society. When that happens, imagine what we shall all face,” he said.

Suswam, however, opted for community policing to help local settlements monitor the movement of people in and around their communities.

“Communities can have teams that can monitor their areas and report the presence of strangers and suspicious movements.

“Such teams could be empowered to use some force, when necessary, to apprehend suspicious persons and hand them over to the Police.

“They should also have proper orientation to know their powers and appreciate their limits,” he said.

Suswam called on the Federal Government to properly fund the Police and provide them with modern and functional gadgets to fight crime in the society.

The former governor, who also urged the National Assembly to critically look into the issue of the state police before backing it, called on the lawmakers to place national interest above the desires of state governors. (NAN)

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