From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Former Secretary General, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Mr Anthony Sani, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari spoke the minds of a majority of Nigerians on state police, restructuring, and releasing of agitators for self-determination when he granted a television interview penultimate Wednesday.
Sani argued that if enough police personnel are trained, equipped and well-motivated to secure the country, there would be no need to call for the creation of state police forces.
In the same vein, he added that if the State police are also not enough, not well trained, not adequately equipped and motivated for performance, they cannot be the magic wand.
In a chat with Daily Sun, the former ACF Scribe also spoke on restructuring, saying that the country had been politically and economically restructured severally over the years, and wondered what kind of restructuring the people are asking for.
‘The president did not say anything substantially different from what I have been saying. The idea of informing agitations in some quarters for state police is predicated on the notion that the Nigerian Police Force has failed to deliver on its mandate to secure the nation, despite our knowing the fact that the Nigerian territory is under policed. This is precisely because there is not enough police personnel trained, equipped and well-motivated to secure the nation. If state police are also not enough, not well trained, not adequately equipped and motivated for performance, they cannot possibly be the magic wand.
‘Unless and until the Nigerian Police Force is properly provided with what it takes to secure the nation and it fails to perform, we cannot talk of state police as the panacea when we all know that state police are subject to abuse by state governors against their political adversaries in their states. What is more, state police can become part of the problem instead of the solution by taking sides in those states that are diverse in ethnicity and religion.
‘Those for state police also feign ignorance of how state governors have abused State Electoral Commissions and killed multiparty democracy at local government level. Hence the clamour for abolition of the State Electoral Commissions in favour of allowing INEC to conduct all elections across the nation.
‘President Buhari added another dimension to the call for state police when he said that because state governments are finding it hard to pay workers salaries, pension and gratuity, they would not be able to assume the additional financial burden of paying state police salaries.
‘So, the way out is for the Nigeria Police Force to have enough state police personnel who are properly trained and equipped as well as motivated to secure the nation.
‘Multiplication of security outfits is not the solution. I cannot agree more with the President on this issue.
On restructuring, I have said it severally that the term restructuring means different things to different people. To some, the term means true federalism whatever that means, for some others, it is fiscal federalism while to other groups it is resource control or resource ownership. But whatever be the case, Nigeria has been restructured several times-be it by way of geopolitical configuration, a form of government, revenue allocation formula and economic development models. We started from three regions and now have 36 states. We even tried a confederate arrangement with a weak centre.
‘We now have 774 local governments. Nigerians have gone through the parliamentary system through unitary military dictatorship and now practising a presidential system. We had a mixed economy and privatization. All the federating units govern themselves without any interference by the national government.
‘Nigeria practices multiparty democracy which is rule of law. The state has arraigned the agitators on the charge of felony. It would be undemocratic and against rule of law to release agitators without trial. Such a course of action would amount to rewarding bad behaviours with far-reaching consequences on the rule of law. I, therefore, share the views that the agitators should go through due process of law which can strengthen our tenets of democracy”. Sani said.