By Suleiman Umaru And Lateef Adegbite
President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, appears to have put to rest the clamour for state police by state governors, security experts and other prominent Nigerians, across the country.
One of such prominent Nigerians who had been in full support for creation of state police was former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who Buhari had alluded spent$15 billion on Power but no electricity because of patronage of those who do not have the technical Knowledge and money to run the Distribution Companies, DISCOS’’. The former Nigerian President and elder statesman believes that state police will effectively ‘’tackle the high level of insecurity challenges facing the country’’. He has asked the Katsina state born Nigerian President to listen to the people and create state police so that they can adequately ‘’tackle insecurity which is one thing a government must do or doomed to collapse’’. But that was how far he could go.
Even Alfred Diete –Spiff, a one-military military governor of the old Rivers state in the Jackboot era and now manayanbo of Twon Brass in Bayelsa, and the incidentally, Chairman, of the state Council of Chiefs, had thrown his weight behind the creation of state police, stating that those kicking against the idea are not ‘’abreast with the current insecurity in the country.
Also on the list of those supporting the establishment of state police were Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos state and Nasir El-Rufai, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, during Obasanjo Administration and governor of Kaduna, which is currently under the siege of the Bandits Group constantly attacking Communities and killing on a daily basis. The All Progressive Congress, APC, governors had repeatedly said to the ears of the the Katsina born Nigerian President that that they cannot run away from the fact states will have ‘’to play much more role in the entire value chain for security’’.
Recall that the Opposition PDP, governors, had started the Campaign for the establishment of state police in 2021, before they were finally joined by the ruling APC, governors. In supporting the creation of the state police, the PDP, governors had said that the Federal government, which controls the country’s security apparatus to protect life and property has become overwhelmed and incapacitated by the activities of the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, including the Bandits gRoups and other Criminal elements across the country.
The Opposition PDP governors may have intensified their pressure on the Nigerian President to allow state police to exist on the excuse that ‘’there is no serious response by his Administration to tackle insecurity in the country. They noted that the impunity has led to massive bloodshed on a daily basis in different parts of the country, particular, in the north east states of Borno, Yobe and north west states of Zamfara, described as home of the Bandits, Sokoto, Kaduna and Katsina, Buhari home state as well as the north central state of Niger and Benue, where the armed herdsmen are killing the farmers daily.
Appearing on Channels Television on Wednesday, January 5,2022, Buhari has made it clear to those cares to listen that ‘’state police is not an option for the nation for now’’. He has reason for turning a deaf ear to the demand of the governors and other prominent Nigerians for state policing as a way to solve insecurity challenges across the country. Hear him: there is the propensity for the governors to abuse their powers. He alluded to the fact that even when the governors are not controlling their own police to maintain Law and order in their respective states, the relationship between them and Local government Chairmen have not been cordial, meaning that they can apply force to deal with any insubordinate Chairman to remove him or her from office. He also an instance of the fact that the governors are using their political weight to ensure that the third tier of government do not get what they are supposed to get as allocation constitutionally from the state.
The retired Army General believes that the solution to solving the security challenges facing the country ‘’the traditional rulers must play a huge role in bringing peace to their Communities because they know who is who, even by families, not even to talk of individuals’’. ‘’We have to revert to that system for us to have effective security in the localities’’, he insists. This is an indications that the clamour for state policing will never see the light of day under the current Administration.
Many had expected Buhari, to take advantage of the Channels Television to condemn the activities of the armed herdsmen which have been infiltrated by the Bandits in different parts of the country, particular, Benue, leading to the frequent clash with farmers, to win back the heart of Nigerians, who had had lost faith in the government.
They believe that he may not have wanted to stepped on the toe of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, popular, MACBAN, and thus had ‘’advocated for more dialogue in solving the farmer-herdsmen clashes that had been recorded in different parts of the country, particular, the north central states of Benue, Plateau, Kogi and Nsasarawa. He had alluded to the visit of Seyi Makinde of Oyo, south wesr Nigeria and one other governor, no Samuel Ortom of Benue state , to complain about the herders animals in their forests going into neighbouring farms and eating up the crops.
The Nigerian President believes that ‘’there was no basis for the frequent clashes between farmers and herdsmen, noting that ‘’they have been co-existing in Nigeria for generations’’. He would want those complaining about the herdsmen to go back to their localities to find out from the leadership what has gone wrong and why the break in Communication between the local leadership and herdsmen’’.
Ortom, the Benue state governor had repeatedly said that the failure of the Nigerian President to reproach the armed herdsmen militia responsible for the killing in his home state and other parts of the country ‘’smacks of complicit and support for the killer herdsmen’’.
Although a Federal High Court in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, had declared the armed herdsmen as terrorists because their modus operandi are not different from BokoHaram and ISWAP, the Benue governor , had dared Buhari to declare the armed herdsmen as terrorists to give the military powers to deal with the ruthlessly and stop the killings in the state and other parts of the country by these herders but the Nigerian President could not listen to him, let alone talk with him on the vexed issue. The duo remain at dagger-drawn.
The refusal of the President to sign the Electoral Bill passed by the National Assembly in November 2020, on the grounds that direct primaries approved for the parties is too expensive may have brought them together as Ortom had backed his action for the first time.
In a related Development, the recent Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos state governor could not understand why he should give an order to a Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, and his 50 member team to vacate the occupied Magodo Phase II. The IGP anti-riot Police were said to have arrived the Estate last December to take possession of properties on behalf of one Adeyiga’s family and others forcing the residents to cry out to Sanwo-Olu, the state governor for his intervention.
But the CSP, who may be acting on the orders of the Police Authorities, had Public defied the governor’s order to vacate the magado premises . The Police CSP, body language may have sent a message to the governor through his body language the Police team , will vacate the premises on the directive of Abubakar Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Attorney General of the Federation and minister of Justice or Usman Alkali Baba, the Inspector General of Police, IGP.
‘’I am here on the instruction of the IGP through the AGF. I am too small or too low to call any of them. Your Excellency, Sir, with due respect Sir, , you can call them directly sir so that they can tell us to return to the office, the CSP remarked. The Lagos state governor’s efforts to make the Police CSP , understand that he is the Chief Security Officer of the state and that that Police team have no business being in the state right now , urging them to leave the Magodo premises was ignored. This may have strengthened the governor’s resolve to support state policing that will give the governors power to control the police in their respective states.
Angered by the disrespectful attitude of the CSP, on the Lagos state governor may have informed why Rotimi Akeredolu, a SAN, and governor of Ondo state had mobilized other south west governors to throw their weight of their Lagos state Counterpart to take action. They have asked him to deploy members of the Operation Amotekun, the regional security outfit in the state to protect lives and property of the people, since the Federal Police could no longer do it.
The aggrieved south west governors have vowed to continue to interrogate the current policing system in the country ‘’ controlled by the Federal government , which ‘’treats elected representatives of the people as mere Prefects while appointed Office holders ride rough shod over them as Lords o Manor’’.
They noted that ‘’if the purported CSPs of the states of the Federation require clearance from the office of the IGP, on matters within their areas of Jurisdiction , only hypocrites will wonder why the current security crisis I the country would not deepen and there appears to be no solution in the forseable future’’. Akeredolu, who is the Chairman of the south west governors Forum , had made it clear to the IGP, That ‘’any expectations of rapprochement between the so-called federating units and federal security agencies are becoming forlorn, progressively, due to deliberate acts which mock our very avowal to ethics and Professionalism’’.
Many are watching to see how the Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos state governor, and the CSP gross disrespect for him and refusal to vacate the Magodo Phase 2, residential Estate area of the estate’’, without orders from Malami, the AGF, and the IGP will end.