Friday, 27 June 2014

Confab backs state police

President Goodluck Jonathan

THE National Conference on Thursday voted for the establishment of state police in the country.
The conference, which also called on President Goodluck Jonathan to stop pardoning corrupt leaders, however said only states that had the financial capacity to fund state police should create it.
Apart from this, the conference adopted the recommendation by the Committee on National Security, that state laws should be used as a guide for community policing.
But there were a lot of disagreements among the delegates on the mode of transfer of federal policemen to states.
While some insisted that police officers should be allowed to serve only in their states for effective policing, others disagreed, saying such a gesture could be misused by politicians.
After a long argument, the delegates adopted the recommendation that at least, 70 per cent of federal police officers from the rank of Deputy Superintendent to Constable, should be allowed to serve in their states of origin.
Before the state police proposal was adopted, there were debates by delegates on what the mode of operation of the state police should be and whether there would not be any superiority battle between the federal and state police.

Some delegates were of the opinion that there would be conflict of command and operations between the federal and state police. They argued that there was no way both could work together without rancour.
They raised concern 0ver the possibility of harmonious coexistence of both federal and state police in states, considering the fact that their duties might overlap.
One of the delegates, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, said that   state police should be autonomous and should operate as a coordinate with the federal police.
On his part, Mr. Femi Falana(SAN), said, “The state police will police and maintain state laws while the federal police will maintain federal laws.”
Some delegates also raised concern over the appropriate title for commissioners of police in charge of state and federal police as well as modalities for posting commissioners of police under the federal system to states.
A voice vote was later taken and delegates voted against seeking the consent of a state governor before the posting of a commissioner of police under the federal system to and out of his state.
They also voted against state governors being involved in the running of police commands in their states.
Also, a compulsory life insurance for all armed security personnel, including the police by government was accepted.
The conference however voted against the merging of the Federal Road Safety Corps and the National Security and Defence Corps with the NPF.
It equally rejected the call for the suspension of recruitment of constables for a given period of time within which police training institutions would be upgraded and brought to international standard.
The conference further turned down the proposal for the police to be brought under the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The proposals for the establishment of a police complaint authority and call for women to be given 50 per cent participation in all the security forces were also turned down.
But the conference adopted the recommendation that the number of vehicles on government convoys and the speed limit be set by the Federal Road Safety Corps.
It however rejected the recommendation to stop the Nigerian Army from being drafted for electoral duties as well as the recommendation that the NSCDC, the Nigerian Immigration Service, the NDLEA and the Customs Service be members of the state security council.
The conference adopted the recommendation to reorganise the Defence Industry Company of Nigeria and the creation of a military industrial complex.
The delegates agreed that the 1999 Constitution must be amended to accommodate the appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff as the Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff.
They also said that government should compensate Odi, Zaki Biam and other places affected by military operations in the past.
A former Chairman of PUNCH Nigeria Limited, Chief Ajibola Ogunshola, later moved for the adoption of the report of the Committee on National Security. He was supported by Mr. Atedo Peterside.
The agitation for the creation of state police had intensified few years ago when the security situation in the country worsened due to the Boko Haram insurgency in the North and kidnapping and armed robbery in the South.
The proponents of state police argued that it remained the only way to resolve insecurity in the country. But those opposed to it said it would be abused by state governors.
The proposal for state police was part of the governors’ recommendations to the Constitution Review Committee of the National Assembly.
Last month, some Yoruba groups had advocated the creation of state police as part of the position of the South-West.
The groups produced a document titled   ‘Regional autonomy or nothing.’
The   conference   also on Thursday called on   Jonathan to stop pardoning convicted corrupt Nigerians.
This was one of the recommendations adopted by the delegates during their debate on the report of the conference’s Committee on Politics and Governance in Abuja on Thursday.
It will be recalled that the President recently pardoned a former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha, who had been convicted for corruption.
The former governor is a member of the National Conference.
The report of the committee, which was headed by a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, and a former Minister of Finance, Chief Olu Falae, said, “All those convicted of corruption should not enjoy pardon.
“We should also establish courts to handle corruption cases in the light of undue prolongation in the trials and persecution of corruption cases in the regular courts and enact a non-conviction based assets forfeiture law, with board provisions to deal with all issues of proceeds of crimes by the anti-graft agencies and the courts.”
It also said that all heads of all arms of government should lead by example by setting examples to discourage Nigerians’ penchant for flamboyance and conspicuous consumption.
In this regard, it added that they should reduce the size of bureacracy associated with their offices, especially the number of their special assistants, senior special advisers and so on, as well as the size of their convoys and observe speed limit.
The conference also said that Nigeria should adopt a true federal structure with the states operating as the federating units and that the creation of local government councils should be done by states as they deem necessary.
It was also agreed that the states by law provide for the establishment of structure, composition, finance and functions of local governments councils in the country.

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