Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State yesterday restated his belief that unless the Federal Government agreed to agitations for the establishment of state police in Nigeria, insecurity throughout the country would not end soon.
Dickson said that the prevailing security situation and the need for an effective response to the current crime challenge had made it mandatory for the establishment of a new crop of policemen from the states.
The Bayelsa Governor spoke even as the new Assistant Inspector General (AIG), Mr. Rasheed Akintunde, during a visit to the police command in the state, pointed out that under the prevailing system of operation, the police could not operate optimally.
He added that of the entire Nigeria Police Force (NPF), only 20 per cent was fit and proper for the job and can efficiently get things done.
But Governor Dickson was reacting to the declaration by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, that it had become difficult for the Federal Government to provide security for the country from Abuja in view of the fact that Nigeria had failed to meet the United Nation’s requirement of a policeman to 400 people.
He said that removing the police from the exclusive list and putting its operations under a more effective arrangement at the level of the state would put a stop to the widespread killings and crimes in the country.
He explained that state police would be effective as the personnel would be drawn from the various states and would easily access valuable information required to track crime and criminals.
The Governor added that the current federally controlled police had become overstretched due to the wide ratio of the police to the rapid increase in population.
“It has become very clear that the decision of the Federal Government to establish state police should be supported. I am of the view that the decision can only tame the growing scourge of crime and criminality in our communities.
“The advantages of having the police at the state level are many. These people will come from the state and I am of the view that their capacity to access the requisite intelligence to fight crime will be stronger.
“So the time to establish state police, as recommended in the report of the 2014 Constitutional Conference and the recent report of the All Progressives Congress, is now”, the governor said.
Dickson also reiterated his call for the establishment of a multiparty committee on restructuring and asked the executive arm to sponsor the requisite bills to the National Assembly to ensure a sincere implementation of the recommendations of the Governor Nasir el-Rufai Committee’s report.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 5, Akintunde, yesterday decried the rising number of private citizens requiring special protection from the police.
“Every big man wants personal security. They want a good number of policemen to secure them, instead of supporting the police to work and ensure a safer environment.
“Honourable wants police security, unfortunately, even Reverend Fathers, Bishops nowadays want police security. That is why only 20 per cent of men of the Police Force are left to cover the whole country. If we can muster policemen in some government formations and deploy them to work on their core duties, it will yield positive results”, he said.
He announced that the Police hierarchy was taking measures to address issues of indolence and poor output among the officers and rank and file in the different formations .
He added that slightly over 20 per cent of Police personnel in security formations were active and working, stressing that the force would soon introduce measures to ensure that the other 80 per cent complements the hard work of the active personnel.
Earlier in his welcome address, the new Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, Don Awunah, had said the issue of shortage of personnel remained a challenge.