Insecurity: Reps Advocate Decentralization Of Police Force

A member of House of Representatives, Mr Kwewum Shawulu (PDP-Taraba), has suggested the unbundling of Nigeria Police Force into independent special units for better handling of security in the country.
He told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that dismantling the Force was necessary as its current structure was too big to be managed by one person.
Shawulu, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Army, said that the office of Inspector-General of Police (IGP) was overwhelmed and could not answer all the calls coming from across the country.
According to him, if we have a system where we have police for traffic, terrorism, financial crimes, election matters, and are all independent, you will not have an overwhelmed IGP.
Shawulu explained that the heads of the special units will be more focus and proactive in doing their jobs without waiting for “orders from above.”
He said that Britain, which established the nation’s police in line with its system, no longer had ‘IG office’ that supervised and gave direct command to all the police in the United Kingdom.
The lawmakers explained that Britain had constabularies like in the London Metropolitan Police, the Chief Constable reports directly to the Minister, who is a parliamentarian.
He said that same applied in Luton and Birmingham and that there was no office similar to that of the IGP, commanding everywhere.
He explained that every section operated independently but were answerable to the government, the parliament and the public.
Shawulu said that in Germany, there is the Federal Police, Regional Police, the Parliamentary Police that took care of issues of parliament and immigration police, all doing different things independently.
“Anything can happen under such system; I am not saying we should not have IG but the people we copied this system from have moved on and changed their systems to reflect the changing times.
“Why do we want to remain stuck to laws created by colonial authorities? Why can we not reform our laws and system to reflect the realities we have in the country today?” he said.
Shawulu said that the 2016 Security and Policing Global Index showed that Nigeria police, in terms of processes, was the last in the world.
The legislator also said that in terms of public perception, legitimacy and credibility, Nigeria police was fourth to the last out of about 180 countries surveyed.
He explained that the factors considered for the ranking included effectiveness of the police, the processes and public perception of the police.
“In other climes, when you report a case to the police, there is a process; you will know the steps to be taken and when to get feedback till you get the solution.
“In the Nigeria’s system, you are not sure of anything at all; for instance, the Public Order Act says that the state governor issues permit for public rallies.
“But police in Ekiti said the governor did not get permit from them; it is not the duty of the police, that is an abuse of process which makes the credibility of our police very low,” he said.
According to the lawmaker, all over the country, nobody says anything good about the police to the extent that if there is a problem in parts of the country, people resort to calling the army for intervention.
He said that the first point of call for people in distress ought to be the police, but regretted that people did not have confidence in the police.
On the call for State Police, Shawulu said that a problem could not be solved by creating another one.
He said state police as being canvassed would be a product of the states’ Houses of Assembly and would be funded by the state, adding that some state governments could not pay salaries.
According to him, not properly funding trained armed men to do their job could make them veritable tools to increase insecurity in the country.
“What I think is that we should put all the options on the table and do what we should do – unbundle the police force, it is too big, it is not achieving what it needs to achieve.
“We have 350,000 policemen on our records, but the streets do not have policemen; when there is a distress call, we do not have policemen there.
“Why is it so? It is because the police among other reasons are commanded by one person who tells them where to go.
“Where he tells them to go may not reflect the problem on ground. For instance, the Governor of Sokoto state gave notice of imminent attacks, instead, 30,000 policemen were deployed to Ekiti.
“If we have a police for electoral matters and the police for terrorism or violent crimes, they would not have been bothered by the election and would have been deployed to Sokoto, Taraba or Zamfara.
“Having such a big force in our political sphere creates corruption that portends danger to our political system and so the police need to be unbundled,” Shawulu stated.


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