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RULAAC Knocks President Buhari For Rejecting Creation Of State Police

RULAAC called for urgent review of the constitution, saying for Nigeria to have a genuine and democratic federation, the existing constitution needed to be revisited and amended.

The Rule of Law And Accountability Advocacy Centre has condemned President Muhammadu Buhari's rejection of the creation of state police by governors in Nigeria.


RULAAC called for urgent review of the constitution, saying for Nigeria to have a genuine and democratic federation, the existing constitution needed to be revisited and amended.


The advocacy group further stated that one of the loopholes of the constitution was that it denied state governors of the power to preside over security issues in their states.


RULAAC maintained that it was an anomaly for a state commissioner of police to receive permission from the Inspector-General of Police in Abuja before enforcing the directive of state governor.


In a statement by its Executive Director, Okechukwu Nwanguma, on Thursday, the organisation said, “One of the many pitfalls of Nigeria's constitution is that while it provides that the governors of the states are the chief security officers of the states, it denies the same chief security officers power over security issues in the states they govern.


"The Federal Government is a layer of government in a federal system and not necessarily superior to the states, which are federating units. Why will the President have powers to appoint an Inspector-General of Police and have powers to control and give directives to the IGP which he is mandated to comply with but state governors don't have similar powers to appoint and have control over the heads of police for their states? That is skewed federalism.


"That an elected state governor cannot give lawful instructions or directives to the commissioner of police in the state he governs and the commissioner complies with the directives without having to refer to the Inspector-General of Police is anomalous in a truly federal system. 


"That a Superintendent of police will have the audacity to engage an elected state governor in an argument let alone challenge him over the governor's directive that he should end the siege in a community within his jurisdiction is yet another justification for the immediate review of not just the undemocratic Constitution we inherited from the military but even more urgently, the review OF our political structure.


"RULAAC calls on the National Assembly to take seriously in 2022 the urgent matter of constitutional review and in particular ensure the review of all the anachronistic provisions in the constitution that inhibit democratic policing and that are generally inconsistent with federalism in a democratic system


"If state governments are granted the power to make laws, then it logically follows that they should also have the powers to establish and control state apparatuses to enforce state laws.


“Currently, what obtains is that states depend on the federal and centrally controlled police for the enforcement of state laws. And the federal police choose which state laws to enforce and which not to enforce depending on the interests of individuals or authorities outside the state.


"To address the founded fears of potential abuse of state police, civil society made some recommendations in the report of the 2012 CSO Panel on Police Reform to wit,  that:


"1. Government should establish a committee to work out the modalities for the establishment of state police in states desirous of maintaining such, with a view to recommending the framework and measures that should be put in place to address the concerns against state police.


"2. State police should only be established on a basis of strict adherence to the principles of operational autonomy, and be based on sound professional practice in appointment, operations and control.


"3. There should be defined parameters of cooperation which provide that 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 as is common in other jurisdictions etc.


"RULAAC maintains that security in a federal system should be decentralised. Crime and policing is both local.


"RULAAC calls on the National Assembly to revisit the reports of previous government committees and panels on police and Security sector reforms for guidance in reviewing the constitution to transform and democratise policing and strengthen federalism and true democratic practice.


"Civil society organisations should work with the legislature to conduct informed debates in partnership with the media, towards amending the constitution to allow for the establishment of state police and also produce a bill that will guarantee the establishment of independent and professional state police services."

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