From: TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
A Port Harcourt-based security expert, Jackson Ojo, has advised against creating State Police, saying it would affect peaceful co-existence in the society and increase electoral fraud.
Ojo, who spoke with our reporter in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, advised that rather, the Federal Government fund the current police adequately and improve the welfare of its personnel.
According to him, allowing states to fund and control police would lead to muzzling the opposition political parties by government in power and create more disharmony and insecurity in the society.
Said he, “Nigeria is a very complex country with politics of bitterness reigning supreme. Our political system and the politicians are not matured enough to to operate state police or any form of state government-controlled security apparatus.
“Let us take a critical look at the state independent electoral commission, where the state governor controls. What has been the result? It has been total witch-hunting of the opposition in the State and, for the ruling political party to win all.
“Police apparatus controlled and funded by the State government will be detrimental to the peaceful coexistence in the State. We shall be witnessing total oppression by the ruling government. Recruitment would be done in favour of ruling party, political thugs will automatically turn to policemen, opposition parties in the State will not be allowed to get police protection, rigging of elections will be 100 percent in favour of the ruling party, as they have the police to protect rigging.
“Nigerians do not need state police now, as our political awareness is still far than near. Centrally-controlled police is still the best bet now. All we need to do as a country, to make our police more effective and result-oriented, is to improve their welfare. Remuneration and all other allowances should be adequately paid; housing for the police, their children education fund should be considered. Also, police recruitment and discharge from work should be done without bias”, Ojo advised.