Insecurity: Utomi declares support for state police

A political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi, on Tuesday declared support for the creation of state police to address Nigeria’s security challenges.

Utomi, who spoke with journalists in Lagos, said the creation of sub-national police would improve security in the country significantly.

He stressed the need for the country to take a cue from the United States which is effectively running a decentralised police system.

The idea of state police has divided opinions in the country with many advancing reasons why the Federal Government should give the state governments the go-ahead with the plan while others kicked against it over fear of abuse by the governors.

Utomi said: “I have always supported the idea of state police.

“I believe state police is a very important part of decentralising authority in Nigeria.

“I live in a university town called Bloomington, Indiana in the United States. The university has its police.

“When we go outside of the university campus, the town, the city of Bloomington has its police and they also carry guns.

“Then, the county in which Bloomington is located also has its county police force. There is also the Indiana State Police. This model shows that policing is more effective when it is decentralised.”

The political economist argued that the fear of possible abuse by state governments should not be a reason to oppose or reject the idea of state police.

“What the Americans have done over the years to the so-called problem of local abuse of people’s rights by police is to ensure that wherever there is a problem relating to breach of rights, the FBI automatically steps in.

“So that is how the Americans have tried to manage it. We can do the same. We cannot have effective security without a sub-national police force,” he added.

He urged the National Assembly to use the opportunity of the ongoing constitution amendment to adopt state police.

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