Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has said the implementation of State police would have curbed violence during Nigeria’s general election.
“If the Amended Electoral Act had been assented to by the President, electoral violence would have been reduced to the barest minimum, as there wouldn’t have been any incentive to snatch materials and manipulate the electoral process,”
Wike said while receiving the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Callamard Agnes, at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
“We believe that there should be State Police for us to effectively fight crime in the country.”
The Bill for amendment of the 1999 Constitution to allow the creation of states and community police has passed first reading in the Senate.
Sponsored by Deputy President of the Senate and Chairman, Committee on Constitution Review, Ike Ekweremadu, the Bill seeks to admit Nigeria into the league of countries operating the state and community police system.
But the President Buhari in January said even though state Police is a good initiative, he does not want to be a part of it because some states might not have enough funds to pay salaries which might raise issues later.
“It may be more efficient, which was why I congratulated the governor of Lagos State (Akinwunmi Ambode) when he started the Lagos State Neighbourhood Corps. It’s a good initiative.”
“Lagos State is richer than the Federal Government. How many states are there that can pay salaries and you now ask them to go and form state Police?”
“And, do you know what can happen if you can’t feed the Police? Do you just give him uniform and a gun but can’t pay him salaries for six months?”
However, Wike insisted Nigeria’s system is fashioned towards the United States, which has Federal, State and Local Police. He said each of them have their responsibilities.
“In the case of Nigeria’s system if a crime is committed, the Commissioner of Police will first report to the Inspector General of Police, before taking any action
He also affirmed that the establishment of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency was meant to help the security agencies with information but “it was politicised by the Federal Government when they sent the Nigerian Army to ensure that it did not come to fruition.”
“If the State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency was allowed, probably we would have solved part of the security problems.”