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Release 200,000 Police Serving VIPs, OneVoice Urges Govt

*Govt must release thousands of Police Serving individuals to ensure public policing


A Civil Society group, OneVoice has said Federal Government under the leadership of President Mohammadu Bohari ensure effective policing of Nigerians by releasing over 200,000 police acting as body guards to Very Important Personalities (VIPs) and the elites.

Chairman of OneVoice Media Committee, Mr Adeleye Adedeji said this at a Media Parley organsed by OneVoice to address issues of State Police raging in the country on July 26 in Lagos.
According to him, “there are about 350,000 police in Nigeria. That is about 1 police man to 157 citizens if all of them were deployed to police the entire population of over 180 million.”
“Sadly, over 200,000 police are serving VIPs in Nigeria”, he lamented.

Speaking further, he called for total overhauling on Nigeria Security apparatus as the debate for the establishment of State police continues to generate mixed reactions, adding, it was high time to decentralise the structure of the Nigeria police to address security challenges.

The nation was not ripe for State police.This is owing to possibilities of abuse by politicians. He argued that the present structure of the security outfit was defective. Adeleye stated that the Police needed financial intervention and reorganisation saying that government “needs to do more in equipping key security functions of the force”.
According to him, the issue of State police should be considered in the context of Nigeria’s federal structure and should be introduced taking into cognisance the abuses of the past by making them autonomous of political control by State Governors.

“Sections 214-216 of the Constitution should be amended and Item 45 (Police and other government security services established by law) on the Exclusive Legislative List moved to the Concurrent List to allow for the creation of State police.
“State Police should only be established on the basis of strict adherence to the principles of operational autonomy and be based on sound professional practice in appointment, operations and control,” he said.
The OneVoice Media chairman further advised that: “The State Police should have defined parameters of cooperation and where a State does not fully cooperate with its counterpart or the Federal police on any matter the Federal police should take over and deal with the matter.”

He noted that the civil society organisations should work with the legislature and conduct informed debates in partnership with the media.
This is towards amending the Constitution to allow for the establishment of State police and also produce a bill that will guarantee the establishment of an independent and professional State Police.
A lawyer with the Human Right Law Service (HURILAWS), Barrister Collins Okeke said Nigeria don’t like to fix aything. We often leave old one and create new one, he added, citing the crating of Vigilante Peace Corp by National Assembly.
Rather than create another police in terms of State Police, Okeke said he was of the opinion that government strengthen existing police adding, there is a need to strengthen the police service commission for effective monitoring of police officers.

Speaking further, he called the nation to adopt Nigeria Judiciary Model for Nigeria Police. While calling for restructuring of the police force to accommodate the reality of the present challenges, he, however, stated that only the police was empowered by the constitution to carry out security duties.
“Several lapses noticed in the nation security were fall outs of under policing. The number of police officers deployed to Economic and Financial Crime Commissions (EFCC) and other duties is serious affecting the strength of the security agency so also the unnecessary duplication of para-military agencies pretending to carry out security tasks,” eh added.

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