Insecurity: Federal Government Backs State Police

A major breakthrough may have been achieved Thursday by those agitating for the creation of state police.

The Federal Government threw its back behind the agitation saying that creation of state police is clearly the way to go in the face of multifaceted security challenges in the country.

Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, stated government’s new thinking on the security architecture of the country at a summit on national security organised by the Senate in Abuja.

Osinbajo’s pronouncement on the need to create state police, which received spontaneous applause from participants at the summit, came as Senate President Bukola Saraki told the gathering that the sharp increase in murderous violence, over and above the relatively manageable level of insecurity that has plagued the country for some time, jolted the Senate out of any last vestiges of complacency or denial of the challenge.

Saraki noted that there can be no denying the horrific reality in many parts of the country today.

He lamented that people who should be neighbours are turning on one another and taking up arms.

For him, “these attacks and reprisal attacks are an intolerable cycle of hell that must be broken. Killings, kidnappings, mayhem and general lawlessness cannot be the new normal. We must take this country back and restore order.”

Saraki noted that though there was no doubt that Nigerians possess the capacity to change the narrative, to end the violence and bring succor, what is required is the political will.

Saraki said: “The coming together of the Executive and Legislative arms of government for this discussion about security is a pointer to the seriousness of the situation, and our determination to tackle the problem. The Summit is also unique, because never before have we had such an inclusive platform for appraising security-related matters in this country.

“The spike in the bloodletting over the New Year period injected another note of urgency into the matter, and further served to augment the mandate of the Committee, whose members suspended their recess to conduct a fact-finding visit to Benue State, scene of one of the recent killings.

“It was envisaged that the Summit would provide a platform for critically examining the problem of insecurity, to help collate views and ideas in aid of the search for solutions. It is most reassuring to see us all here – people together – coming together to come up with a national response to a grave problem confronting our nation.

“To the Executive, I say this: you cannot do it alone – and this is why we are all here to join efforts. It is all hands on deck. No one person, organisation or arm of government can single-handedly tackle the hydra-headed monster of insecurity. The Constitution makes it clear that the safety of lives and property of citizens is the responsibility of government. We in government must therefore do everything in our power to ensure that Nigerians are safe from harm, and their livelihoods and belongings protected.

“Permit me to observe that those who are in this room have the capacity to bring about a change in this situation, to end the violence and bring succour. We have the capacity. But, do we have the political will? I daresay political will is what is required; and it is my hope that we shall marshal it as a legitimate instrument against this problem. Indeed, there is no reason why that should not be the case. This is not a Summit to trade blames – in no way is this a blame game. Neither is it convened so that any person or entity can take credit. We just want solutions. Solutions only. That is all Nigerians require of us.

“It is expected that at the end of our deliberations and submissions, we will have a more profound understanding of the nature of the crisis; as well as a realistic assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of our security assets. We should also have a more accurate assessment of challenges to the current disposition of the Nigerian state – through the level of preparedness of all its law and order agencies to security threats.

"Let me add that this Summit should help us achieve some consensus around what needs to be done, in the short term as well as in the long term, to bring comfort and relief to those affected, and assurances of security throughout the country.

“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we would have failed in our responsibility if – by the end of this Summit – we didn’t succeed in triggering higher levels of collaboration and cooperation among all stakeholders, of a character that can be sustained and placed at the service of the nation. This spirit of collaboration and cooperation is, therefore, key.”

The Senate President said the programme has been designed to allow full and unfettered discussion.

All participants, he said, are encouraged to be forthright in expressing their views, and show commitment to the need for solution.