SARS: Ekweremadu renews call for state police

A former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, on Wednesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to decentralise the police in order to end their impunity and other shortcomings.

He regretted that the Bill he sponsored to amend the constitution in order to create state police was rejected in the 8th Senate and not receiving attention by the current senate.

Reacting to the disbandment of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) and proposed setting up of the Special Weapons and Tactical Team (SWAT), Ekweremadu, in a statement by his Media Adviser, Uche Anichukwu, said the Federal Government was still addressing the symptoms rather than the real illness.

He said he was not surprised by the series of protest against police brutality.

He said, “The problem with our policing and the attendant insecurity and excesses are engraved majorly in Section 214 (1) of the 1999 constitution, which provides that ‘There shall be a police force for Nigeria, which shall be known as the Nigeria Police Force, and subject to the provisions of this section, no other police force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof’.

“It is also worsened by Section 215 (2), which goes further to declare that ‘The Nigeria Police Force shall be under the command of the Inspector-General of Police and contingents of the Nigeria Police Force stationed in a state shall, subject to the authority of the Inspector-General of Police, be under the command of the Commissioner of Police of that state.

“This informed my Bill for the Creation of State Police with adequate provisions in the mode of financing, control, and appointments of the high commands of such state police services to insulate them from any forms of abuse and give citizens roles in the various State Police Service Commissions.

“Unfortunately, this has not received the requisite political support, I call on the President and political stakeholders, once more, to seize the opportunity of the widespread demands for police reforms by Nigerians to do the right thing, addressing the structural challenges.”

Ekweremadu stated that Nigeria is the only federal state with a unitary police which had never worked anywhere.

He added, “It is not working here and it will never work. Therefore, whether we call it SARS or SWAT, we will only be addressing the symptoms instead of the diseases until we decentralise policing to allow citizens and the states take charge of the security of lives and properties of its people.”