Nigeria’s plan to create state police would be abused by State political actors, Ex-minister warns

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A Nigerian policeman stands guard as All Progressives Congress (APC) party supporters march towards the Independent National Electoral Commission Office in Port Harcourt during a demonstration calling for the cancellation of the presidential election in the Rivers State on March 29, 2015. Thousands of supporters of Nigeria's main opposition party demonstrated in the southern state of Rivers, calling for the cancellation of elections locally because of alleged irregularities. AFP PHOTO / FLORIAN PLAUCHEUR (Photo by FLORIAN PLAUCHEUR / AFP)

Former Minister of Police Affairs, Humphrey Abbah, has advised Nigerians against the creation of state police, adding that the country is not yet ripe because it would be abused by state actors.

Abbah maintained that state police will further deepen the current insecurity bedeviling some parts of the country, noting that the problem is orchestrated by abandoned political thugs who are in search of self-help

Speaking to journalists at the first election organised by Britarch School, with its own electoral body called Independent Britarch Electoral Council (IBEC), to elected prefects in Abuja, he said: “My position on the creation of state police is a categorical no. I do not support the creation of state police because of the challenges it would pose to our security system.

“I have had the opportunity of being in the security circle from the Ministry of Interior to that of police affairs. I can tell you that investing in security apparatus is not a kid’s game. There is the tendency to abuse the power of it within the orientation we currently have in this country. It is so easy to slip off.

“It is not advisable in this era. The challenges we have in our security set up today emanates from various political parties who are in charge of state government, running youth wing and youth organisations that is what is metamorphosing into various kidnapping groups across the federation. Let us not look far.

“These people are not coming from the sky or dark forest. These are youth wings who were used for political engagements but abandoned, and now finding means of self-help. These youths were armed by politicians. So, if you do create state police, believe me, the anarchy we will be getting into will be bigger than what we have.”

Abbah, who is member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), suggested drastic increase in police personnel to five million, amidst constant training for maximum efficiency.

“What I advocate is that the number of personnel of the Nigeria Police Force should be dramatically increased. This country needs not more than 5 million police force and nothing less than that to begin with.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the School, Okechukwu Philip, said the electoral exercise was meant to instil electoral consciousness in the students to prepare them on how to perform their civic responsibilities.

He said: “These kids were disenfranchised during the last elections due to age limit. It is good to groom them according to the guidelines policy of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) until they clock 18.”