• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

Falana cautions against potential misuse of state police by some governors

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Legal luminary, Femi Falana (SAN), has cautioned against the potential misuse of state police by some governors, urging for robust legal safeguards to prevent them from becoming instruments of oppression.

In a recent interview on Channels Television, Falana underscored the need for clear legal frameworks to ensure state police forces serve the people, not the whims of individual governors. He highlighted the existing decentralization of security, pointing to private security outfits operating in estates and communities.

Falana emphasized the importance of clearly defined jurisdictions for state police to avoid inter-agency clashes. He stressed the crucial role of civilian oversight, advocating for a “people-police service” rather than a “government-centred” one.

The renowned lawyer attributed the current demand for state police to the perceived ineffectiveness of the federally controlled force. He pointed to Section 216 of the Constitution, which mandates the Nigeria Police Council (NPC) to oversee critical police matters, including personnel strength and funding.

Falana criticized the apparent neglect of the NPC, a body with a majority of state governors as members. He argued that state governors have a vital role in managing the police force, yet the council hasn’t functioned as intended.

While acknowledging the potential benefits of state police in a federal system, Falana emphasized the need for safeguards against political abuse. He pointed to existing concerns about the federal police and stressed the importance of ensuring no level of government – federal, state, or local – uses police power to intimidate opponents.

Falana’s remarks come amidst renewed calls for state police as a potential solution to Nigeria’s security challenges. President Tinubu and governors have expressed support for the concept, with 16 states already submitting reports to the National Economic Council (NEC) in favor of amending the constitution to create state police.

However, the remaining 20 states haven’t yet made their positions public, leaving the future of state police in Nigeria uncertain.