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State Police Not Negotiable…Jonathan



By Linda Ike

The former President Goodluck Jonathan said the issue concerning the establishment of state police had been settled, as majority of Nigerians have already agreed on the necessity.

Jonathan stated this at a one- day dialogue on State Police, organised by the House of Representatives, on Monday, in Abuja.

He said creating a state police is not negotiable but the framework for the implemention is needed.

Jonathan urged that laws must be strong to ensure its effective management without been influenced by the state political actors

He further added that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) operations must be rejigged while the use of Police in elections must be minimal.

While recalling his experience as the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Jonathan said “when we took over, the State was almost ungovernable. Gen Abdulsalami (Abubakar) will remember that when elections were to be conducted in December 1999, the security situation in Bayelsa State was so bad. Our elections were pushed to January 1999. The State was in crisis, the Niger Delta agitation was there and criminal elements were also operating in the creeks, posing all manner of havocs to market women and others.

“My boss then, Alamieyeseigha had to set up Bayelsa Volunteers that worked with the police. We had to build stations around significant parts of the creeks and the boys volunteered to work with the police since they could not carry weapons. There is no way we can manage our internal security if states will not have their police. The issue is not States having their police but how they will function vis-a-vis the national security architecture.

“When I set up the 2014 national dialogue, during that period, we had a lot of challenges in the country. People were agitating in many areas and in one state, the whole local government delegates advocated for state police. When the matter came up, everybody supported…We cannot move away from the issue of state police.

“We should not waste our time debating whether we should have State police or not . We had it before in this country, the military scrapped it because of abuse. That is the area we should concentrate on. How do we manage State Police so that it will not be abused by state political actors? If State political actors are abusing state police and using it to harass and make life miserable for people who don’t belong to their political parties, will the commander in Chief sit down and watch? Or will order the military to overrun the state police? The key areas we have to debate is how do we run the state police viz-a-Viz the national security”.

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