The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has opposed the establishment of state police, saying that Nigeria is not ripe for it.
He said this at the opening of the public hearing on the Review of the 1999 Constitution held by the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, in Abuja on Thursday.
Stakeholders also differed on the creation of more states and a return to regional structures in line with the existing six geopolitical zones.
Representing the IG at the hearing, Chief Superintendent of Police, Mr. David Akpour, said the only problem of the police was that of funding, arguing that if the force was well-funded, it would be alive to its responsibilities.
He said, “It is not in the interest of the country to establish state police. Nigeria is politically immature for state police. As God cannot satisfy everyone, so the police cannot satisfy all.”
However when asked if he knew any country that operates a unitary system of government with a centralised police, Akpour could not mention any.
He however said that Nigeria was remarkably different from other countries operating state police.
While making his presentation before the committee, former Nigerian Bar Association President, Olisa Agbakoba, canvassed devolution of powers to regions created along the “six natural ethnic geopolitical framework.”
According to him, a unicameral national legislature is ideal in the proposed structure which will be responsible for dealing with national issues, while the regions would have their legislature to tackle matters affecting them.
He argued that the implications would be that the devolution of power would affect the judiciary, where the regions would have their judicial authority and autonomy.
He said, “For Nigeria to get it right, we have to agree that centralising judicial and legislative powers just cannot work. We have so much centralisation of power in one central government at Abuja, we can only get things right by massive devolution of power.”
Senator Saidu Dansadau, in his presentation, rejected the call for the creation of more states, arguing that the creation of states in the past had not translated into any meaningful economic development.
While addressing the hearing, Chairman of the committee, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, warned that the committee would not succumb to blackmail or any attempt by a few to hijack the process of the review of the Constitution.
He said, “We will ensure that tackles of ideas are traded in the open with decorum and that superior arguments prevail so that Nigerians would readily take the total credit or blame for the outcome of this exercise.
“However, I must reiterate that we will not be intimidated by any form of subtle or outright threats or blackmail. While we will endeavour to always guide the debate, providing valuable and correct information that would assist Nigerians make the right decisions of their own freewill on all the issues at stake.
“We will not take issue with anyone or group that may want to deliberately distract or inflame the whole process. We will not fear to legislate for the good of our country, just as we will never legislate in fear. Nigeria is bigger than every one individual.”
While declaring the public hearing open, the President of the Senate, David Mark, said the Senate would resist any attempt to truncate the process.
He said, “Let me assure you also that whatever view you espouse here shall ultimately count. In this most solemn of tasks, the National Assembly neither harbours any presumptions, hidden agenda, preconceptions, nor an intention to foist a fait accompli.
“It is the ultimate synthesis of the desires of the people of Nigeria, analysed and carefully considered in the context of modern realities, that will prevail. What the Senate will certainly resist is any attempt by a vocal minority to tyrannically hijack the process and impose its views on the majority.”
The public hearing continues on Friday(today) to allow more presentations on the areas for amendments.