Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has joined the call for the review of the Nigerian Constitution to allow states have greater say on issues such as state police and judicial autonomy.
Wike made the call at the Third Annual Criminal Law Review Conference of the Rule of Law Development Foundation on Monday in Abuja with the theme ‘Updates and Developments Within the last 13 Months on Criminal Justice Procedure and Evidence in Nigeria’.
Speaking in the same vein, a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Joseph Daudu (SAN), said the recent threats by the COVID-19 pandemic and the #EndSARS protests have shown the existential threat faced by the country’s criminal justice administration.
He called for political restructuring of Nigeria to build a more inexpensive federalism, charging Nigerians to set aside “deep seated fears, phobia and manipulative demons” to carry out the exercise.
In his keynote address, Governor Wike said Section 214(1) of the 1999 Constitution provides for one police force, adding that based on that provision governors had no measure of control of the police in their states.
While bemoaning the politicization of security in the country, he said state governors were not playing the role of “chief security officers but chief logistics officers.”
On the Wike Executive Order No 10 which seeks the payment of funds standing to the credit of the judiciary in the states on first line charge, Wike said Nigeria, being a federal system, the centre cannot dictate to the states.
In his remarks, Dr Alex Izinyon (SAN) cautioned that until the existing provision is amended, especially Section 215 of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999, state police would be in violation of the constitution.