Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has called for the decentralisation of the Nigeria Police Force.
Fayemi, who also urged government to develop enduring national security policies, stressed the need for the country to adopt a multi-level approach in tackling security challenges.
He described the current structure as unfavourable and hindering the police from effectively performing its constitutional responsibility effectively and efficiently in safeguarding lives and property of the citizens.
Fayemi, who spoke on Friday at a public lecture with the theme: “Perspectives on Security Challenges in Nigeria from 1999 to 2019: The Way Forward,” organised by the Yoruba Tennis Club in Lagos to mark its 93rd anniversary, said it had become imperative for government to look at other mechanisms in addressing insecurity in the country, in addition to military intervention.
He said government must consider decentralising security and law enforcement from the Federal to state, down to the community, adding that partnership in the security sector and inter-agency collaboration must be encouraged to bring about effective policing of both land and coastal regions of the country.
The governor stated that the police, as the traditional and age-long security outfit, were being relegated to the background, for lack of necessary tools needed to effectively carry out its duties as the friend of the masses, while on the other hand the military was being elevated with the provision of state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.
The governor, therefore, called for a reform of the Nigeria Police Force in line with what is obtainable in the criminal justice system by strengthening its capacity to carry out investigations without political interference.
He also said the re-training, re-tooling and re-arming of the police should be a priority so that the force could carry out its role effectively.
According to Fayemi: “From a strategic point of view, it is necessary that the military’s role as an elite specialist weapon of last resort be fastidiously preserved while we leverage other resources and tools that are part of the security sector’s arsenal. This means re-tooling, re-training and re-arming the police force – much neglected in the scheme of security planning and recognising their premier role in the field of law enforcement and the first line in national security management.
“Effective policing in a democratic environment requires the civilianisation of the service. The portrait of the Nigeria police officer wielding an assault rifle is unflattering portrayal that conveys the impression that it is a military unit and entrenches a misconception of identity in the minds of the police operatives themselves.”