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Nigeria Police Wasn’t Established to Succeed – Senate Leader

Amid the increasing demand for an efficient and responsive police system, the Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele on Monday lamented the dysfunctionality of…

Amid the increasing demand for an efficient and responsive police system, the Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele on Monday lamented the dysfunctionality of the Nigeria Police, pointing out that as currently constituted, the police was not properly established to succeed in the country.

Bamidele, also Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, further observed that any police structure that did not reflect Nigeria’s federal realities would not effectively address the roots of security challenges facing the federation.

He made these remarks at the 2024 Distinguished Personality Lecture Series jointly organised by the Department of Political Science and Institute of Legislative Studies, University of Ilorin, Kwara State.

The lecture, titled “Constitutional Amendment and the Political Dynamics of State Police in Nigeria,” was chaired by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau I. Jibrin, who was represented by Deputy Leader of the Senate, Senator Oyelola Ashiru.

At the lecture were the Chairman, Senate Chairman on Agriculture, Senator Saliu Mustapha; Chairman, Senate Committee on Trade and Investment, Senator Sadiq Umar; Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Akintunde Yunus; Vice Chancellor, University of Ilorin, Prof. Wahab Egbewole (SAN) and Director General, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman.

Speaking at the session, Bamidele dissected diverse socio-economic and political forces responsible for the dysfunctionality of the Nigeria Police and reeled out antidotes to the problems of policing in Nigeria.

While warning against the incessant deployment of the armed forces without compliance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, Bamidele faulted the undue establishment and operations of vigilante groups and security outfits at the state levels without national legal framework.

Bamidele explained that the incessant deployment of the armed forces for the purpose of maintaining law and order internally was at variance with their mandate under the 1999 Constitution and did not portray Nigeria as a truly democratic and internally stable democracy.

The senate leader observed that the challenges facing the Nigeria Police “are numerous. How the police are organised, managed, governed and funded can determine its ability to deliver on its constitutional mandate of protecting the life and property of Nigerians.

“Understanding these dynamics can help in appreciating what needs to be done to improve security in the country. It is clear that Nigerians do not fully appreciate the depth and scale of the challenges facing the police.

“I maintain that the police have not been set up properly to succeed in this nation. Effective policing in Nigeria is almost impossible unless there are fundamental changes. Indeed, the constraints faced by the police are used as excuses for various misconducts and unprofessional behaviours by many officers of the force.

“Despite many attempts by its leadership of the Nigeria Police to enforce discipline and even sack bad eggs, operational misconduct is still prevalent in the ranks of police operatives, and this undermines their capacity to decisively respond to pervasive insecurity nationwide.”

He further argued that the regular deployment of the Nigeria Armed Forces across the federation was, no doubt, an indication that the present police structure could no longer address the present security challenges of our nation.

To correct these anomalies, the senate leader canvassed the adoption of decentralised police model to address a myriad of security challenges currently undermining the country’s internal cohesion and disincentivizing investors from coming into the federation.

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