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State Police In Nigeria: Solomon Arase Proffers Permanent Solution

State Police In Nigeria: Solomon Arase Proffers Permanent Solution

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Summary : The discourse on state policing in Nigeria is rooted in a historical context dating to the colonial period. Under British rule, the policing framework was predominantly employed for suppressing dissent and upholding colonial dominance, rather than catering to local needs (Suberu, 2001). Post-independence, Nigeria established a centralized federal police force, aimed at ensuring national security but faced challenges in adapting to the varied and localized security demands within the nation (Adetula & Ayoade, 2019). This centralized approach has been critiqued for its limited effectiveness in responding to local crime dynamics and has prompted discussions about the potential benefits of transitioning to a state-level policing model, akin to practices observed in federal systems such as the United States and Germany. 2. The debate over the implementation of state policing in Nigeria is deeply intertwined with the shortcomings perceived in the current federal policing system, especially in its ability to address region-specific criminal activities. One prominent issue is the prevalence of banditry and kidnapping for ransom, which has escalated notably in the North-West and parts of the North-Central region. This phenomenon has strained local communities and highlighted the need for security measures tailored to the distinct challenges of these areas (Ogba & Oji, 2020). Concurrently, Nigeria has witnessed various secessionist movements advocating for regional independence or greater autonomy, reflecting underlying socio-political tensions exacerbated by perceived marginalization and governance disparities between different regions. 3. Moreover, the North-Eastern region of Nigeria remains a focal point for violent extremism and insurgency, epitomized by the activities of Boko Haram and its offshoots. This persistent security threat has not only claimed numerous lives but also destabilized communities, posing a significant challenge to the federal policing structure's capacity to effectively mitigate such risks (Umar & Omeje, 2017). Meanwhile, urban centers across the country, as well as rural communities, contend with a spectrum of criminal activities including ritual killings, cybercrimes, cult violence, and armed robbery. These issues underscore the diverse and localized nature of crime patterns within Nigeria, necessitating a nuanced approach that considers regional dynamics and community-specific security needs (Oluwabamide & Nwobodo, 2021). 4. In light of these challenges, proponents of state policing argue that devolving law enforcement responsibilities to state-level agencies could enhance responsiveness and efficacy in addressing localized crime patterns. Drawing from examples of federal systems like the United States and Germany, where state or regional policing plays a crucial role in complementing federal efforts, advocates suggest that a similar model could better align policing strategies with the distinct security landscapes across Nigeria's geopolitical zones (Greene, 2018; Bundeskriminalamt, n.d.). However, the transition to state policing entails complex considerations, including ensuring equitable resource allocation, maintaining national cohesion, and upholding constitutional frameworks, which require careful deliberation and strategic planning to effectively address Nigeria's multifaceted security challenges. 5. Arguments advocating for state policing emphasize the potential benefits of decentralization, enabling more tailored and responsive law enforcement strategies that address specific security challenges in each state or region. Successful international examples illustrate how localized policing can enhance community trust and cooperation, ultimately leading to improved crime prevention and resolution outcomes. For instance, in the United States, the transition to state-level policing allows individual states to customize their law enforcement approaches according to local needs and crime patterns, contributing to higher satisfaction rates among residents and better alignment of policing strategies with community expectations (Cordner, 2020). 6. Moreover, decentralizing policing can facilitate quicker responses to localized crime trends and better management of environmental factors influencing criminal activities. Countries like Germany have decentralized their policing systems, empowering states (Bundesländer) to manage law enforcement more autonomously. This approach has been credited with fostering closer relationships between police officers and communities, enhancing the effectiveness of intelligence gathering, and promoting proactive crime prevention efforts (von Einem, 2019). By promoting community policing initiatives where officers have deeper familiarity with local dynamics and concerns, state-level control of policing can strengthen grassroots engagement and cooperation, thereby bolstering overall security measures (Rosenbaum & Lurigio, 2017). 7. Transitioning from a federal to a state policing system necessitates addressing several pivotal gaps to ensure its effectiveness and sustainability. Firstly, there is a critical need to ensure that state police forces receive comprehensive training and are equipped adequately to confront diverse criminal threats prevalent in their respective regions. This includes not only technical skills but also the capacity to handle sensitive issues such as terrorism, organized crime, and cybercrime, as seen in models adopted by countries like Brazil and India (Klein, 2018). Secondly, establishing robust oversight mechanisms is imperative to mitigate the risk of abuses of power and uphold human rights standards within state policing frameworks. Effective oversight frameworks, as evidenced in countries such as Canada and Australia, involve independent bodies tasked with monitoring police conduct, ensuring accountability, and addressing grievances from the public (Harkin & Choong, 2019). 8. Thirdly, clarifying the delineation of roles and responsibilities between state and federal police forces is crucial to facilitate seamless cooperation in addressing complex and cross-jurisdictional crimes. Models from federal countries like Germany and Switzerland emphasize clear division of tasks and collaborative protocols to optimize resource allocation and enhance operational efficiency (von Einem, 2019). Lastly, maintaining collaborative relationships with federal agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) is essential for tackling crimes that transcend state boundaries effectively. Coordination mechanisms observed in federal policing systems like the United States and Canada illustrate the importance of interagency cooperation in combating organized crime and ensuring public safety (Cordner, 2020). Addressing these gaps critically is fundamental to navigating the complexities of transitioning to a state policing model, ensuring it meets the diverse security needs of different regions while upholding constitutional principles and enhancing overall law enforcement effectiveness. 9. Lastly, ensuring collaborative relationships between federal and state police systems is crucial for effectively addressing crimes that transcend state boundaries and fall under federal jurisdiction. Countries with federal policing models, such as the United States and Canada, emphasize the importance of interagency cooperation in combating organized crime and ensuring public safety (Cordner, 2020). This collaboration involves integrating efforts with federal agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), which play pivotal roles in coordinating operations and sharing intelligence to combat complex and transnational criminal activities. By aligning federal and state policing strategies, these countries enhance their ability to respond comprehensively to diverse security challenges while upholding legal frameworks and safeguarding public interests. 10. Furthermore, maintaining effective partnerships between federal and state law enforcement agencies is essential to optimize resources and expertise across different levels of governance. This cooperative approach not only strengthens the capacity to investigate and prosecute federal crimes but also facilitates the exchange of best practices and specialized knowledge in areas such as counterterrorism and cybercrime. Countries like Germany and Australia employ similar cooperative frameworks, emphasizing the seamless integration of federal and regional policing efforts to maximize operational efficiency and adaptability in addressing evolving security threats (von Einem, 2019; Harkin & Choong, 2019). Thus, fostering synergistic relationships between federal and state police entities remains a cornerstone of effective law enforcement strategies in federal systems worldwide. 11. Transitioning to a state policing model in Nigeria is a complex endeavor that requires careful consideration of various challenges and potential solutions, drawing upon both local and international examples. A primary concern is the sustainable funding of state police forces, given the financial constraints faced by many Nigerian states. For instance, Lagos State has implemented successful state-controlled law enforcement agencies such as the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA). These agencies have demonstrated operational efficiency in handling local security and traffic management issues, showcasing the potential benefits of localized policing initiatives (Ajayi, 2018). 12. Constitutional and legal reforms are also critical in decentralizing policing powers from the federal to the state level. Nigeria can learn from international examples such as the Hisbah Police in Kano State, which operates within a state-level Sharia legal framework to enforce moral and religious codes. Despite its unique focus, the Hisbah Police provides insights into how state-specific legal frameworks can coexist within a federated policing system, albeit with challenges related to constitutional alignment and jurisdictional overlaps (Olayinka, 2020). Integrating state police forces with existing federal agencies, such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), presents logistical and operational complexities. However, models from federal countries like the United States and Germany offer examples of successful interagency cooperation frameworks. These frameworks emphasize clear delineation of roles, joint task forces, and collaborative intelligence-sharing mechanisms to effectively combat transnational crimes while preserving national unity and security (Cordner, 2020). 13. Critics of state policing in Nigeria raise concerns about potential abuses of power and politicization of law enforcement. To mitigate these risks, mechanisms such as transparent appointment processes for senior police officials and independent oversight bodies are essential. Countries like Canada and Australia employ robust oversight mechanisms to ensure accountability and uphold public trust in state-level law enforcement agencies (Harkin & Choong, 2019). While adopting a state policing model in Nigeria presents significant challenges, leveraging lessons from successful state-controlled law enforcement initiatives within the country and international best practices can guide the implementation process. By addressing funding issues, navigating legal reforms, fostering interagency cooperation, and implementing effective oversight mechanisms, Nigeria can enhance local security capabilities while upholding constitutional principles and ensuring the integrity of law enforcement operations across diverse regions. 14. The Dan Madami Presidential Committee on Police Reforms proposed recommendations to decentralize police administrative powers to geopolitical zones, suggesting a nuanced approach that could harness the advantages of state policing without instituting separate state police forces. This model advocates for Deputy Inspectors General of Police to oversee each geopolitical zone, with officers from Chief Superintendent of Police and below deployed to their respective states of origin. This decentralized structure aims to improve local responsiveness to crime while maintaining strategic coordination at the national level (Dan Madami Presidential Committee on Police Reforms, 2020). By adopting this regional policing model, Nigeria could potentially streamline law enforcement operations across its diverse regions, addressing local security concerns more effectively. Moreover, the proposal includes a provision for selecting the Inspector General of Police from among the Deputy Inspectors General of Police overseeing the geopolitical zones, based on their performance metrics. This aims to enhance leadership accountability and operational efficiency within the federal policing framework. 15. This hybrid regional model not only aligns with the current federal structure of Nigeria but also incorporates elements of decentralized governance that can mitigate some of the challenges associated with fully autonomous state police forces. It offers a pragmatic pathway towards improving law enforcement capabilities at the local level while ensuring coherence and consistency in national security strategies. By leveraging existing federal resources and infrastructure, such as training facilities and specialized units, this approach could potentially enhance the overall effectiveness and responsiveness of Nigeria's law enforcement agencies. The regional policing model proposed by the Dan Madami Committee represents a strategic compromise that underscores the importance of adapting policing strategies to local contexts while preserving national unity and security imperatives in Nigeria's complex federal system. 16. In conclusion, the discourse surrounding state policing in Nigeria encompasses a complex array of considerations, spanning historical, legal, operational, and financial dimensions. Proponents of decentralization argue convincingly for the need to empower local authorities to tackle region-specific security issues promptly and effectively, thereby fostering greater community engagement and trust in law enforcement. However, the transition to state policing faces formidable challenges that necessitate careful navigation. The proposal put forth by the Dan Madami Presidential Committee on Police Reforms to decentralize administrative powers to geopolitical zones represents a promising middle ground. This regional policing model advocates for Deputy Inspectors General of Police overseeing each zone, with officers deployed based on their states of origin, aiming to enhance local responsiveness within a structured national framework (Dan Madami Presidential Committee on Police Reforms, 2020). 17. By leveraging existing federal resources and infrastructure while empowering regional oversight, Nigeria can potentially strengthen its law enforcement capabilities without the administrative complexities and potential risks associated with fully autonomous state police forces. Drawing insights from both domestic experiences and international best practices, Nigeria has an opportunity to forge a path towards a decentralized regional police system that not only addresses local security challenges but also upholds national unity and security imperatives. Effective management of this transition holds the promise of bolstering public safety, improving governance effectiveness, and catalyzing sustainable development across the diverse geopolitical landscape of the country. It is crucial that policymakers, stakeholders, and communities collaborate closely to refine and implement this regional policing model, ensuring it aligns with constitutional principles, respects human rights, and enhances overall law enforcement efficacy in Nigeria. Being an address by Dr. Solomon E. Arase, CFR, NPM, fdc, FCIArb, Former Inspector General of Police, Chairman Nigeria Police Service Commission and Board Member - The Para-Mallam Peace Foundation. Delivered at NBA Benin Branch Law Week Wed June 25th 2024

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