Dr Mike Omotosho
Looking back in history we see that there indeed have been a form of security bodies which were active even before the colonial invasion which were quite effective.
It is also true that there were issues that led to the disbanding of such groups such as unnecessary loyalty and misuse of power.
But it is expedient to look critically at the issues on ground in light of the current security menace we have now.
According to Wikipedia, “Federalism is the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government (the central or ‘federal’ government) with regional governments (provincial, state, cantonal, territorial or other sub-unit governments) in a single political system. Its distinctive feature, exemplified in the founding example of modern federalism by the United States of America under the Constitution of 1787, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established. It can thus be defined as a form of government in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status”.
Having said this, let’s look at the facts, the National Assembly and the Judiciary both function at both National and State levels as we have the State Assemblies and State Judiciaries, the state always answerable to the Federal Government when the needs arise.
It is of good note to state clearly that State Government is actually a complete government on its own with powers to make and enforce laws that suit its state as well as punish offenders who will try to be a deterrent to the peace and sanity of such state, thus making the judicial arm at state level quite functional.
Yet under the legal system in Nigeria, the only body charged with the responsibility of enforcing law is the NPF and it is a Federal Body; this is why it not effective in its duties because Nigeria to too large for its security issues to be managed from one central point alone.
My take on this therefore would be to decentralize control of the Nigerian Police Force so that the States can have some level of Command and Influence especially when rapid response is required. All power should not be wielded by the Inspector General of Police. I know that some are skeptical of this State Policing Policy as it may one day warrant people to start clamoring for LG Police or even Ward Police, but that can be tackled immediately from the onset by allowing for locals to operate as Sources of Intelligence or Intelligence Personnel as the case may be.
We must ensure that the State Police does not further divide us as nation because a Yoruba person should be able to serve in Enugu while an Igbo person should be able to serve in Zamfara without any fear. As with any other case if the whole State Policing thing is not handled properly It would only result in bigger problems. Accountability on the part of the leadership of this great nation to do what needs to be done promptly at the right time will be the solution to most of our problems.
The second issue that need urgent addressing is the state of our border security. So far, the major culprit in our recent security challenges has been infiltration! From the beginning, we have always had people coming into this country we cannot trace. It has been an issue for years how our borders especially the border towns in northern region of this country have become so embarrassingly porous, much so that, foreigners actually stroll into Nigeria from even surrounding countries.
It amounts to an erosion of territorial integrity of this great country for this to continue to be the case. We can no longer have people who have taken up residence in this country who we do not know! Until urgent steps are taken to get serious to militarize and recover our borders and enforce the geographical space called Nigeria, there is no way we can win any war against insurgency in the country.
Dr Mike Omotosho
Chair, Labour Party