Ambivalence Over State Police

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“Although state police is one of two key issues being considered for amendment this time, with the reluctance of some state governors to support the idea, it appears we may once again run into hitches”.

BY ZAINAB SULEIMAN OKINO

Considering the high level of security threats everywhere in the country, it is safe to say that state police is an idea whose time has come. In over 25 years of civil rule since 1999, it has been a routine for every National Assembly to review the constitution under the deputy senate president as chairman of the committee, to which billions have gone down the drain. According to the Guardian, “endless reviews and amendments have cost the National Assembly N1 billion every year for 30 alterations at a cumulative cost of N24.8 billion in 24 years”, yet each of these sessions was met with comprehensive failure because our constitution is yet to change significantly.

Altering the Nigerian constitution requires the imprimatur of at least 24 out of the 36 states. However, in the current attempt, only 16 states have submitted reports on the issue as revealed during the last NEC meeting presided over by VP Kashim Shettima.

While we hope more states will support and submit their report promptly, one sticky part of that stagnancy is state police: to be or not to be. The concentration of everything in Abuja means that even the remotest part of this country will have to look unto Abuja when it comes under attack as we have seen in recent time in Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto states etc. This is no longer feasible.

Although state police is one of two key issues being considered for amendment this time, with the reluctance of some state governors to support the idea, it appears we may once again run into hitches. Governor of Kebbi state, Dr Nasir Idris, revealed recently that state police would be a burden on governors. Pray, what is leadership without burdens? With this mindset, there is a risk that the state police issue will become another lofty amendment to the constitution that never materializes, despite consuming billions of Naira.

…Zainab Suleiman Okino is a syndicated columnist. She can be reached via zainabsule@yahoo.com

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