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20 Governors Remain Mute On State Police As Others Make Moves

Lucky Obukohwo, Reporting

Twenty state governors out of the 36 are yet to support the creation of state police to enhance regional policing and checkmate the spate of insecurity in the country.

Truth Live News reports that 16 state governors have allegedly recommended the establishment of state police to tackle the menace of insecurity damaging the country.

They also recommended changes to the constitution to allow for the creation of state police.

Mohammed Idris, the minister of Information briefed newsmen shortly after 140th meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) held virtually.

He said that governors made their decisions in report submitted to Council during meeting chaired by Vice President, Kashim Shettima.

He said out of the 36 States, 20 State Governors and the FCT were yet to make their submissions.

The minister revealed that the 16 governors also called for the review of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

There has been clamour for state police as Nigeria battles with worsening security challenges such as kidnapping and banditry.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had on February 12 reiterated their position on state policing.

The governors had maintained that state police is the solution to the country’s worsening security situation, lamenting that Nigeria is “almost on the road to Venezuela”.

Also, regional socio-political groups such as Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Middle Belt Forum, and the Northern Elders’ Forum, have repeatedly called for state police as a solution to the myriad of increasing security challenges confronting the nation.

Already, states in the South-West geopolitical zone have formed the Amotekun while their counterparts in the South-East also created a security outfit Ebube Agu.

The Benue Guards has also been operational in Benue State in the North Central while states like Katsina, Zamfara, and other bandit-prone sub-nationals have also come up with similar state-established outfits.

However, these outfits have not been as effective as anticipated as they do not have the backing of the Federal Government.

States continue to demand that Amotekun, Ebube Agu, and others be granted license to bear assault rifles like AK-47s to confront lethal gun-toting marauders.

Speaking exclusively on the issue, a presidency official who preferred anonymity said, “The President told the state governors to discuss it further at the state level.

A committee was set up for that. We have not heard from the committee yet. Don’t also forget that simultaneously, the national assembly is considering inserting state policing in the constitution. So, there is a consensus around state policing.

“As for the forest guards, work is going on with it. There are existing forest guards in several states, but they are under the states’ ministries of agriculture. The goal now is to strengthen their capacity by arming them properly and recruiting more people.

“Still, it all falls in the hands of states to strengthen the forest guards. That is where we are now.”

Another Presidency official spoke on condition of anonymity.

He said the opening of the Nigeria-Niger border was part of efforts to stall the proliferation of the small arms and light weapons non-state actors use for their enterprise.

“What I know is this: some people have linked our security problems to the situation in Libya. The Libya conflict has led to the flow of arms to Nigeria. We share a long border with Niger. And many arms are flowing into the country.

“Our borders with our Sahelian neighbours are largely ungoverned. So, there are many arms in the hands of this bandit.

“We had to make peace with Niger because of this. It was an attempt to appease Niger. We share the same border. If we are not at peace with them, they may ignore the arms flowing in. Even the food shortage we are talking about, many goods come from Niger to Nigeria. We exacerbated things when we shut the border,” the official said.

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