As the clamour for the restructuring of the country continues, governors on the platform of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) thursday in Abuja constituted a committee to interface with the Nigeria Police on crucial security matters such as state police.
Rising from a meeting held at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa and attended by the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, the governors mandated the committee to explore issues bordering on challenges confronting both the police and policing in the country.
Members of the committee who were drawn from the six geo-political zones of the country were: Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi) and Ahmed Tambuwal (Sokoto).
Briefing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Yari said presentations by the IG dominated discussions in the forum, saying Idris sought the governors’ support for technology-driven policing and also made a strong case for the establishment of media outfits by the Nigeria Police.
He said the IG also expressed concern over insufficient funding for police operations, adding that he equally sought the support of both the NGF and the National Assembly on legislation on the Police Trust Fund that is currently before the legislature.
According to Yari, the NGF committee will collaborate with another committee set up by the Nigeria Police on security matters, affirming that the findings and recommendations of both committees will eventually be presented to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo for consideration.
“We discussed and received a presentation from the Inspector General of Police. He made a presentation to us canvassing for support to introduce media outfits, radio and television for the force, and for a technology-driven police force.
“The Inspector General of Police dominated the whole of our discussions today, briefing us on the issue of policing in the system. He said in some other nations, they have one policeman for every 10 persons in a community, but in Nigeria, we have one to 602 persons, while the United Nations recommends a policing ratio of one policeman to every 400 persons
“So the Nigeria Police have difficulties with funding and they are poorly paid, which we agreed that with the way things are going in the budgeting process, we will not be able to fund police.
“The Inspector General of Police also briefed us that there is the Trust Fund Bill which is before the National Assembly and asked for our support and members of the National Assembly, especially the House of Representatives, to get it passed in order to improve funding.
“On our own part, we have put a committee in place. It has the governors of Kwara, Imo, Delta, Ekiti, Bauchi and Sokoto States to lead the committee so that they can interface with the committee of the police and take the matter before the acting president for further action.
“It is important for our nation because there is the issue of state police that is being discussed, so we shall come up with options which we expect that the committee will find a safe way of policing in Nigeria,” Yari said.
In his briefing, Idris said the security challenges ravaging the country dominated deliberations at the meeting, noting that security matters require the collective co-operation and support of all.
He described the acting president’s order thursday for the reinforcement of security forces in Southern Kaduna as a normal procedure in security situations, emphasising that the involvement of citizens in security matters was crucial to achieving safety across the country.
“In our efforts to address some of the challenges in the police, we had a fruitful discussion with them (governors) and obviously, all of them are concerned about security in some parts of the country, virtually in all parts of the country.
“They are ready to support the Police Force to see how we can address some of the challenges. Obviously, it is a normal procedure when we have challenges we normally reinforce.
“Having insecurity all over the country requires the participation of every citizen of this country. We have to put our heads together to address all the security challenges.
“The state governments are doing well, they are trying to bring communities closer and I think it takes a long time but by and large, with the cooperation of community members and all the security agencies we have met to synergise,” he said.
The IG, however, expressed his reservation about a decentralised police force, saying Nigeria was not ripe for state police.
Instead, he said the country should improve funding for the police under the current arrangement.
Idris, who also claimed that he was not unaware of the agitations by some groups for the creation of state police, argued that the federal police arrangement remained the best, reported the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
“I sincerely believe that the federal police is still the best for the country and with improved funding the challenges of crime will be addressed.
“Those agitating for state police should consider the level of our political maturity,” he said, according to a statement by police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood.
Moshood said the IG held the meeting with the governors to solicit their support for the passage of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Bill before the National Assembly.
He said if the bill is passed, the police would have improved funding to effectively police the nation.
He informed the governors that that with the current ratio of 1:602 the Nigeria Police was operating far below the United Nation’s recommended ratio for effective policing.
“About 10,000 police officers were recruited recently to fill the gap but this is still a far cry.
“To meet the UN ratio of 1:400, the Nigeria Police requires an additional 155,000 police officers over the next five years,” Idris was quoted to have informed the governors.
The IG also reportedly told them that a request to recruit 31,000 policemen had been sent to President Muhammadu Buhari for approval.