For sometime now, many Nigerians have been clamouring for state police. This they say will foster peace and security in the country.
Our correspondent, Calista Ezeaku went round the town to ask the people if Nigeria is actually ripe for state police, especially in view of the security challenges currently facing the nation.
Ken Nwiueh captured their facial expressions.
Alhaji Umaru Ewunee, a Graphic Artist
The truth of the matter is that in Nigeria, we have police already. Are those policemen not working? If they have one defect or the other, are they not the ones to train the ones we will recruit as State Police?
The people that would be in the State Police, are they not Nigerians? Are they not seeing what is happening in the country? So the issue is that as long as they are police, I believe, they will also be corrupt.
However, I also believe that state policemen will be able to secure the states more, having come from those particular states. If I am from a particular state, I will do a better job in securing my people, than somebody from another state.
It is just like the vigilante groups, when they are well trained, they guard their territories better than somebody from another locality. So if we recruit people from our localities for that very purpose, I believe it’s going to yield better results.
However, whether we have Federal Police or State Police, if the policemen are not paid well, there will still be the problem of inefficiency and corruption. The major problem we have in Nigeria today is corruption.
If the issue of corruption is being tackled, I believe they will work with their minds. If they are paid well, they will work with their minds, because what makes them to be corrupt is because they are not paid well.
You cannot see your fellow citizens working in places like oil companies, driving cars and building houses and you, working as a police man probably with the same qualification can hardly make ends meet, and will not be tempted to be corrupt.
So if the policemen are paid well and being taking care of adequately, I believe, they will render better services.
Dr Job Akien Alli, a Lecturer
The answer could be yes or no. Yes, because State Police are going to be paid by the states. Each state must have a certain number of policemen they would desire with regard to the security problems in their region. That would determine the number of police they would employ to handle any crisis. That will also help them to train them in any level without seeking external aid. So state police will help states to train their policemen in the areas of their own peculiar security challenges.
But if it is a federal police system, with the mixture of different qualities of policemen, you can bring policemen not trained on a particular crisis case to a place and they will not be able to handle the situation and that could result to more crisis or yield negative results. They could even turn the situation to their own advantage, as it is happening now.
But on the other hand, I will say no, Nigeria is not ripe for State Police. Because of the political scenario, Nigeria’s democracy is too young for state police.
The way and manner we carry out security issues in this country is still alarming and disappointing.
The reasons are these, every big man-a governor, a minister, law makers, chairmen of local government areas, even councillors, want to control the police with the people’s money.
You know in Nigeria we are so money-conscious. That is why State Police will not be a good thing. If every one is not corrupt, if everyone is honest and has integrity, we can run State Police without any bias.
But because of the desire for money, making money as a god, state police cannot be okay in this country. Because when the state police comes to reign, the rich will suppress the poor in every matter that would involve the police. They will jail them because they have money to jail them.
Even now that State Police is not operating, you can see some people putting innocent people in prison, which cases had never appeared in a court of law at all, talkless of state police. When the main “Oga” is the governor and he has a hierarchy of boys, and the boys will be threatening you, “the governor is my man, we are in the same party, I will lock you up and nothing will happen”.
It happens. So Nigeria is not ripe for State Police with the kind of administration we are running.
Besides, who would make up the State Police if not the boys of those in authority? The man who is on seat will want to employ his community’s men more in the police. So if his community and another community have a problem, he will send the police of his own community to suppress the other community that has no police.
Because surely, the quota system will not be used in recruiting the policemen. They will make noise about the quota system, but the implementation of the quota system will not be there. So bias, tribalism, religion and other things will set in.
So until corruption is wiped out from the country, until everyone is becoming conscious of his integrity, his personality, not to soil his name, we need not think of State Police.
When we were small, we used to hear that a good name is better than silver and gold. Until that mentality is built in Nigerians, of patriotism and integrity of persons, there shall be no state police.
Bright Bie Kara, a Student
The issue of state police is a welcome development. I love it, the idea is good. I think State Police will help to tackle most of the problems in our communities better. It will create employment for our youths too, so that they will stop all the cultism and criminal activities they are involved in.
Deacon Prince Enyi Princewill, a Politician
State Police is not necessary. What I will rather suggest is that we should have proper community vigilante groups with legal backing. State police will begin to create some kind of alteration in the Federal system.
We have a federal system and the Nigerian police is under the exclusive list. So, by the time you start talking of State Police, it will mean moving the police from the exclusive list to either concurrent or residual list.
So, instead let there be legally backed vigilante groups or community policing. If we adopt State Police, it means we are no longer operating a federal system of government. A man from Ondo should be able to serve in Rivers State. A Rivers man should be able to serve in Sokoto. That retains, maintains and sustains our federal system.
Miss Lilian Pueba, a Student
I think Nigeria is ripe for State Police because that will ensure adequate, effective security of our communities and the state. The current system where policemen are posted to states other than their states of origin results in poor commitment to the job. If you know me, you will want to treat me better.
Jacinta Chinyere Nnaji, a Lawyer
Actually, there are pros and cons to having a State Police. The police system as it is now is tilting more to the federal side. There is no attachment to the people as it is because they see themselves as answerable to only the state or local governments.
So they kind of do what they like because it is a federal system and they don’t have any answer to anybody here.
But if we have a State Police, there will be more checks and balances. The state government is there, the chairman of a local government is there. People watch them and they can easily report them to somebody. They will check them really.
On the other hand, if we have state police, those in authority may have adverse control of the police. They can even use the police against their opponents, especially during elections. Some other person who is a money bag can also pay the police and use them for negative reasons. People can use the police to intimidate their enemies or opponent, or cause problems in the society.
But if you ask me, I think I will prefer State Police because the police as it is now does not answer anybody because they feel, “who are you? You don’t pay my salary”. So they do as they like and it is wrong.
However, as it stands now, you cannot just say states should have their police, except you amend the constitution to incorporate that in the constitution.
For A Stronger Opposition Party In Nigeria
For want of a better phrase, I will describe this week as a period of “push me, I push you” for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition party in the country, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
It started with the PDP Governors in a communiqué at the end of their 11th meeting in Bauchi State on Monday, accusing the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration and the APC of turning the Presidential Villa to the new APC headquarters and using underhand tactics to arm-twist some PDP governors and other stakeholders to join the ruling party.
Then the Presidency which in its usual manner cannot take such allegation lying low, through the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, lampooned the opposition party, boasting that “between now and 2023, there would be more confusion in their ranks and there would be more depletions in their ranks, so that is why they say anything,” he said.
According to him, “We were in this country when President Obasanjo was in power and the BOT meeting of the PDP used to hold at the Presidential Villa.
“We were here when President Yar’Adua, and President Jonathan was there, they held meetings at the Presidential Villa. What are they talking about really? Meaning, yes, we (the APC) are using the villa as a party office today because you (the PDP) used it in the past.
So we are still where we were in 2015 when PDP left office. Nothing has changed? The wrongs of the now opposing party are still being perpetrated despite all the promises to bring about change? Maybe this mentality of “business as usual” is the reason the three major campaign promises of the ruling power tackling insecurity, improving the economy and fighting corruption are yet to be realized.
From the realities on the ground, it is obvious that the country is not any better today than it was six years ago. We have seen a complex form of insecurity threatening to tear the country apart. Many citizens have been sacked from their ancestral homes by bandits, herdsmen or whatever they are called; hundreds of people are being killed every day, kidnapping for ransom has become a lucrative business; many farmers can no longer go to their farms for fear of being raped, maimed, kidnapped or killed.
Economically, there is little or no visible improvement. Currently, Nigeria is topping the list of countries with the most people living in extreme poverty in the world. Unemployment rate is on the increase and the value of the Naira continues to depreciate. Corruption is now the order of the day. Some people liken corruption in the country to cancer that has destroyed every part of the body.
Yet, all we hear is that the government is doing a lot for the country. The Presidential spokesman, Adesina, announced a few days ago that the Buhari government will unveil massive infrastructure in the country by 2022. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and see what they have in stock and what impact it will make in the lives of the numerous poor citizens.
But the desired change is not the responsibility of the APC alone. Put differently, the blame for the lack of change should not go to only the ruling party. Has the PDP as the main opposition party been able to put enough pressure on the APC to bring about change? By this, I do not mean the frequent press releases and communiqués whose impact is hardly felt.
Has the PDP demonstrated good governance styles in the state they control which can put pressure on the APC to sit up? In the aforementioned communiqué the PDP governors supported the need for a free, fair and credible election in the country and asked the National Assembly to entrench electronic transmission of results of elections in the nation’s electoral jurisprudence.
The big question is, have these governors done the same in their various states? Have they given free hand to their respective State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) to conduct free, fair and credible elections that will be acceptable by all or they have made their state electoral umpire an extension of their political party?
Yes, it is good to criticise the federal government and the party in power when things are not going as expected or when their actions and inactions are causing untold hardship and pain to the citizens, but as leaders of government in opposition party controlled states, the governors need to go beyond criticisms and attacks. A lot of Nigerians will like to see them exemplify their own alternative good governance style so convincingly that people in states controlled by other parties will want to support or vote for PDP candidates in their areas so as to be able to enjoy good governance.
Again, the PDP governors demanded Electronic Transmission of 2023 Election Results and many have been wondering why, as a party, they can support such a course while some senators elected on the platform of the party voted against it and some stayed away on the day the Senate voted to decide the inclusion of electronic transmission of election results in the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act.
It is, therefore, time for the leaders and members of the PDP to come together and think of a better, more effective way to play their opposition role if they must effectively challenge the APC in the next election. The ongoing zonal congress of the party should be free and fair, devoid of imposition of candidates or overbearing influence of the party heads so that the party will be united and not fractionalised, going into the 2023 General Election.
By: Calista Ezeaku
Of Prophecies And Profanities
A back-page news headline in The Tide, Monday, July 19, 2021, “I Warned Nigerians About This ‘Evil’ Govt, Oyedepo Laments”, was described by someone as a political profanity. A political profanity would be described in religion as a blasphemy or sacrilege. But such views or utterances tend to be common with narrow-minded persons. One Robert Ingersoll, an American and a self-proclaimed agnostic, once said that religion is not only an opium but also a prophylactic.
Bishop David Oyedepo, said to be the world’s second richest pastor, recently spoke on the power of prophecy at the Canaanland headquarters of his church in Ota, Ogun State. According to him, “I am privileged to be among the few God shows things long before they happen”. Therefore, “when a prophet speaks, he speaks the heart of God”. He went on to say “I saw the wickedness of the wicked being forced on the land…” Can we ask why?
From the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State chapter, Rev. Joseph John Hayab, we hear that there are “commercial pastors”. We are told that “CAN has watched and listened with dismay how some Abuja commercial clerics have been recruited to discredit a serious security challenge that Kaduna State people, especially Christians, are going through in the hands of bandits and kidnappers”. Now we know that there are “commercial pastors who value money more than human lives” and who can be hired to distort truth, calling terrorists a mild name.
Then from the National Broadcasting Commission comes a directive that television and radio stations in Nigeria should not “glamourise” the nefarious activities of insurgents. Yes, code of ethics for Nigerian journalists, under the item on violence, states that “Journalists shall not present or report acts of violence, armed robberies, terrorist activities or vulgar display of wealth in a manner that glorifies such acts in the eyes of the public”. Reporting is not same as glamourising!
The universalistic hedonistic principle of ethics suggests that the ultimate criteria for determining whether anything is right or wrong, is the degree of happiness or satisfaction generated. Such would include stability, justice and mass acceptance of the issue in question. In the case of the ongoing mayhem in Nigeria, there is a suspicion that ideological leanings play some roles in the matter, whereby one man’s bandit is another man’s hero. This suspicion gains support in a situation where a bandit becomes a mystery man no one can arrest.
Ideological leanings or orientations in Nigeria derive largely from the two dominant religions in the country, namely: Christianity and Islam. Therefore, there is no way that we can shy away from the fact that orientations of Nigerians are coloured and influenced by religious considerations. But what we must try to avoid is a situation where we hide under secular politics, to promote religious ideologies. Such hypocritical postures are becoming evident in Nigeria currently.
Conceit is a major plight which bedevils humanity most grievously, whose domain of manifestation, from earliest times, has been the religious institutions. Humans have been held hostage and the mind held captive through the dogmas of prevailing religions. Nowhere are we spared the numerous voices of authority, prophesies, claims and assertions of religious orthodoxies. Is it a profanity or sacrilege to challenge dogmas that rarely have spiritual validity and assertions that go contrary to personal experiences and convictions?
Was there not a time that numerous people were burnt alive at the stake on the orders of religious authorities for refusal to recant their beliefs and personal convictions, not in line with religious dogmas? Did religious authorities not assert that the Earth was like a table, contrary to “heretic” view that it was spherical? What were the crusades and Punic wars about? Or, have the conceit and abuses of power ended? Even during the era of abolition of slavery, a Missionary Captain of a slave ship had the audacity to tell a Naval ship captain that “This is a Christian ship on a Christian mission”.
Is it false to say that religious bodies took part in slaving activity, gave blessings to pirates and bandits and received donations from them thereafter? Currently we hear about “commercial pastors allegedly hired to discredit insecurity in Kaduna State”. Let us not shy away from the truth that a greater part of atrocities committed on Earth are done under the invocation of the Name of God. Similarly hungry masses have been exploited and further impoverished via tithes, etc.
More importantly, it is the marriage of religion and politics that accounts for the disdain heaped upon religion which began long ago when Christianity became a tool for political power. Consequently wars and bloodshed became associated with religion, up to a situation where members of a Society of Jesus (Jesuits) could be seen with a Bible in one hand and a gun in another. Neither did Islam fare any better, resulting in the two dominant religions being described as the enslavers of mankind.
A French satirist, Arouet, who took the pen name, Voltaire, in his work titled Candide, posed a question, demanding an answer: “Do you mean to say you have no monks teaching and disputing, governing and intriguing, and having people burned if they don’t subscribe to their opinions?” Heretics of religious bigots of old, now bear new names of enemies of the establishment who call for a review of the status-quo, rather than accept what is on the table already. Agitators, insurgents, etc.
Under the compulsion of accepting the status-quo and what is on the table already, dissidents, like the heretics of old, are fit for hanging, in place of burning. Human authorities, from political to religious ones, must learn that in an imperfect state, everything is subject to continual improvement and changes, such that conceit and dogmatism signify arrogance. Even prophesies and revelations come in stages as the level of human development can absorb. Profanities include ascribing to the creator what did not emanate from, or not consistent with Him.
By: Bright Amirize
Dr Amirize is a retired lecturer from the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.
Contradictions Of Change
In Nigeria of today change and public expectations have become conflicting dialectics. Hallowed societal values are built on positives with respect to the term change.
However, governments after government in Nigeria have come and gone without berthing the desired changes and change has become a contradiction that needs to be changed.
The problem with Nigeria lies in the philosophy of Leo Tolstoy when he said “Everyone thinks of changing the system but no one thinks of changing himself”.
This explains why political parties come out with one manifesto or the other but end up without implementing what ought to be a social contract with the people that gave them the mandate.
Most politicians and political parties have continued to pay lip service to their sworn promises to the people and democratic principles. This is because individual politicians are not sincere to themselves and to the people they represent. Their tactics and bad behaviour have remained the same.
The ruling political party A.P.C. swore to change what they perceived as wrongs in the political structure and administration when they came up with their change mantra.
In a face book post in 2017, I had observed as follows; “APC means different things to different Nigerians; Armored personnel carrier, which is a metaphor for impunity. All people confused. All promises cancelled. All plans changed. All people chained.”
The above is a reflection of frustration, disappointment, a feeling of betrayal which an average Nigerian has experienced since 2015, the inception of the present dispensation at the centre.
At the core of this frustration is the fact that the ruling party had promised to revamp the economy, curb insecurity and create jobs for the growing army of unemployed Nigerians.
Nigerians know better today as the change they promised needs an aggressive revolution for a sustainable change.
The country has become more divided than before as ethnic militias and secessionists have been further emboldened because of the absence of leadership, irresponsible management of information and unbridled insensitivity in the handling and sharing of national wealth.
It is unfortunate however that many Nigerians have been hiding under the cover of political parties to unleash their personal unethical dispositions in politics.
This can be seen in the way they respond to burning national issues with irresponsible diatribes and rampant throwing of tantrums in the name of defending party positions.
We can see this unfortunate scenario in Rivers State where politicians attack just government policies unjustly. They have refused to see the magic wand of Governor Wike in project execution. Nigerian politicians should begin to take individual responsibility for their actions without hiding under political party cover to display unpatriotic tactics to the detriment of the people.
According to the first black American President Barrack Obama; “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for, we are the change we seek”. Indeed, every one, political parties, individual politicians, N.G.O, the people who deliver their mandate on the basis of sentiment to politicians are the change we seek. We as Nigerians are all caught in this contradiction of change.
Nigerians have been clamouring for restructuring; yes we need to restructure the system, the governance structure, distribution of wealth, everything, but first we must restructure ourselves. That is the change that is most desirable.
Watching the drama of absurd on National television one could only see badly brought adults hiding under the umbrella of politics to display their primordial sentiments.
The recent debates on the petroleum industry bill brought out the worst from the average Nigerian Legislator in the two chamber legislature in Abuja .”Statesmen” were separated from state plunderers.
A political analyst, Festus Oguche once queried their actions, wanting to know whose interest they represent in some of their crude display on the floor of the hallowed chambers. The petroleum industry bill has suffered undue delay because of certain interests in and out of the National Assembly who misunderstand the intentions of the law. Other interests are simply mischievous over the benefits such a law would confer on the oil bearing communities of the Niger Delta.
A responsible nation should be built on equity and justice for all.
There is the dire need at this time of our existence as a nation to have laws that would sanitize the negatives in the oil and gas sector to the benefit of all stake holders.
The maxim, “The majority have their way and the minority have their say “, has become a call for mediocre legislation. What on earth would make 21st century legislators in Nigeria vote against transmission of votes via electronic means? E-governance in Nigeria is as old as two decades or more, why should the electoral system be an exception to the rule?
If a legislator could accept huge sums sent to him by electronic means, why can’t he accept results transmitted through the same means?
INEC has the statutory mandate to conduct elections, in line with the laws and constitution of Nigeria. Common sense demands that they should be allowed to exercise their discretion in the exercise of such functions without any supper impositions from law makers.
What are the law makers afraid of? They want to rig the next elections? The greatest challenge in our politics is the electoral process which recruits some persons that have no business in governance.
The wrong persons are those who renege on their promises to change the system or add value to what is good.
By: Bon Woke
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