In an apparent move to tackle the current security crisis and insurgency in the country, the delegates to the National Conference, yesterday recommended for the decentralisation of the Nigeria Police Force to make room for the creation of State and Community Police.
By implication, Police has been removed from the Exclusive Legislative List and to the Concurrent Legislative List in the Constitution to allow both the federal and state governments adequately address issues of security and police matters.
These were the high points of the recommendations of the National Security Committee report headed by former Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Muhammed Gambo-Jimeta and former Director General of the Department of the State Security, Albert Horsefal.
Though newsmen were barred from covering the debate when the general principles of the National Security Report was discussed at the plenary session, journalists were however present during the debate on the recommendations of the committee’s report.
In approving the recommendations for state and community police, the delegates approved that the federal police should concentrate on the enforcement of federal laws, while state police should enforce state laws.
The delegates also said the issue of state police should be optional to states that desire it and are willing to fund it. The delegates further recommended that state governors should be involved in the running of the police commands in their states and that 70 per cent deployment of police officers from Deputy Superintendent of Police and to the ranks of Constable should be to according to their states of origin.
However, the conference rejected that state governors should be consulted before a Commissioner of Police is posted to any state and that the governors should not control the state police
The delegates further rejected the expansion of the State Security Council to include Immigration, Customs and Civil Defense amongst others, as well as rejecting the expansion of the local government security council.
The delegates recommended that vigilante groups should be made to operate under the police, while rejecting the recommendations that there should a creation of ‘Very Important Persons’ (VIP) Unit in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The conference adopted the recommendation that retired military personnel be trained and engaged in the fight against Boko Haram. It, however, rejected the recommendation that the National Security Adviser should establish a Homeland Security Force.
It also rejected the recommendation to merge the FRSC with the police as delegates adopted a recommendation for a life insurance to be created for all armed security personnel in the country.
The conference rejected the recommendation for the establishment of the Police Complaints Authority jettisoning the idea that the NSCDC should be merged with the police.
The conference had also rejected the recommendation to bar the Nigerian Army from being drafted for electoral duties as well as the recommendation that the NSCDC, the Nigerian Immigration Service, the NDLEA, the Custom Service be expanded in the composition of State Security Council.
Other recommendations of the conference on National Security include that the border patrol force to be domiciled in the Ministry of Defence.
There was stalemate on the mode of operation and superiority between the federal and state police as a delegate said the federal and state police existing differently would result in conflict of command and operations.
Ayo Adebanjo from the South-west said the state police should be autonomous and should operate as a coordinate with the federal police arguing that State is a coordinate to the federal government.
Lagos-based lawyer, Femi Falana said there are states with different police operations with commissioners of police manning them. “The state police will police and maintain state law, while the federal police will maintain federal laws”.
Adebola Ogunsola moved for the adoption of the report of the committee and was supported by Atedo Peterside.