The House of Representatives is contemplating constitutional backing to enable states establish their self-run police.
The Bill sponsored by a member representing Etinan/ Nsit Ibom/ Nsit Ubium Federal Constituency of Akwa Ibom State in the House, Hon. Onofiok Luke seeks to alter the 1999 Constitution to provide for State Police and other state government security services to enhance security and preservation of lives and property in Nigeria.
The Lawmaker who led the debate when the bill was considered by the House said the primary responsibility of every government all over the world is to protect and preserve the lives and property of its citizens and to maintain law and order.
He argued amongst many other responsibilities of government, the responsibility of preserving lives and property ranks first.
Luke pointed out that the principle of social contract is chiefly anchored on this responsibility where the people relinquished and contracted their individual rights to the government for the protection of their lives and property. He noted that any failure on the part of the government to keep to this basic responsibility/contractual term portends danger.
The lawmaker lamented that many years after independence, Nigeria has continually been beset with insecurity ranging from terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, and domestic violence.
Luke said granted that there is no society without crime or manifestation of criminal behaviour, the inability to bring to the barest minimum crime is a scathing indictment on the current security architecture and structure in the country.
He added that the federal structure of the country’s security does not encourage community policing or localisation of policing, saying that recruitment and subsequent deployment of police officers in their local area is one of the major ways of curbing crime. Such officers, the lawmaker stressed, understand the area, terrain, language, behaviour and attitude of the people he or she is policing.
Luke was of the opinion that Nigeria, a country with over 201 million people, is grossly under-policed with about 400, 000 police personnel, adding that the number falls far short of the United Nation’s recommendation of ratio one policeman per 400 citizens.
The lawmaker explained that the Constitution envisages Nigeria as a federal state, noting that allowing state governments to establish their police force and other security apparatuses would bring Nigeria into its original constitutional contemplation of a federal state.
The objectives of the Bill according to Luke is to enhance greater security and preservation of lives and property in Nigeria’s federating units and in the country as a whole.
The bill also aims at enhancing maintenance and preservation of law and order; reduce incidents and occurrence of crimes in the country; establish community policing and install greater public participation in policing; and to support and provide assistance to federal police and other federal security agencies. – Thisday.