Despite the recommendation by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar that State Police could be introduced in Nigeria to augment policing activities in the states, Northern Governors are sticking to their guns reaffirming their earlier opposition to the introduction of State Police.
The Kano State governor, Engineer Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who relayed the position of the governors in Abuja at the weekend, insisted that the Northern Governors’ Forum is yet to change its mind on the proposed introduction of state police.
“People don’t understand. All of us in the Northern Governors’ Forum, probably the 19 of us with the exception of one or two are bitterly against the issue of state police,” the governor said.
Suggesting that the country stands to face some risks should state Police be introduced, he said, “we are not supporting it, at least, for now; because there are some inherent dangers. There are issues on the ground that have to be sorted out before we land on the issue of State Police.”
Those who oppose the establishment of State Police suggest that the State governors could misuse them for personal, sectional, political or allied interests that could be detrimental to peace and stability of the country in general.
The governor said the current reality was that the governors were not in control of the police and other security agencies drafted to the states on matters of security.
Responding to a question on his view about recent statement by the United States of America that those fuelling the insecurity in Nigeria were out to discredit the Nigerian government, Kwankwaso said he was yet to see the said statement. He added, however, that: “the security agencies are owned by the Federal Government. They don’t take any permission from us to go and make any arrest or get any information.
“Once they get such information they pass it to Abuja. Thereafter, we hear from Abuja because we don’t own police, we don’t own soldiers, we don’t own SSS. I am the Chief Security Officer but they do not report to me”, Kwankwaso explained.
According to Kwankwaso, the current security challenge being faced by Nigeria is not peculiar, adding that every nation experiences some form of insecurity at one time or another but that with the collective efforts of all stakeholders, such challenges usually give way to peace.
“There is never a time in the history of any country or any state that there was no crisis. Between 1999 and 2003, there were all sorts of religious and ethnic crises, with southerners killing northerners and vice versa. We also had the issue of Sharia which started in Zamfara and came to Kano and many other states. That was the burning issue at that particular time,” he said.
“What we have today is our own version of security challenges. That is why we are working round the clock to ensure that our states are safe so that Nigeria can continue to be peaceful so that people can go about their normal businesses. Go to US, UK, France, Germany you find people going to public places and shooting. It is not something which is peculiar to Nigeria or Kano. What is important is that the authorities in the state are on top of the situation.
“We are working with security agencies and everybody to ensure that Kano is peaceful. Kano is centre for commerce and everybody who is there will always want to support commerce. We had an unfortunate attack on the 20th of January but that has gone down to almost zero”, he added.