Stakeholders fault Buhari’s “state police is not an option” comment

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President Muhammadu Buhari’s comment that “state police is not an option” in tackling the nation’s security challenges has attracted criticism from a section of Nigerians.

The president made the comment during a viral interview with Channels TV on Wednesday, a day after a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) openly defied Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.

“State police is not an option. Find out the relationship between local governments and the governors. Are the third tiers of government getting what they are supposed to get constitutionally? Are they getting it? Let the people in local government tell you the truth; the fight between local governments and the governor,” the president said.

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Some of those who faulted the president’s position are: National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Iyorchia and Middle Belt Forum.

Ayu said in a statement by his media office that the president’s stance amounted to not caring about Nigerians losing their lives daily due to insecurity.

“Watching President Buhari this evening on Channels TV during an interview session was a gratuitous waste of time because there was nothing new coming from the President.

“As has been said by many before now, to expect anything new from our President would be a misplaced and unfortunate expectation.

“From the economy, to insecurity, killing of innocent farmers by terrorists (which some erroneously term farmer/herder clashes) and other sundry issues, President Buhari honoured his calling as a President who has nothing new to offer.

“He again repeated the impotent argument regarding killing of farmers by terrorists, reminding Nigerians of grazing routes.

“What the President failed to reference is that the herders plying the grazing routes before, neither carried AK47s, nor did they engage in raping of women and despoilation of the assets of those along the routes.

“Mr. President’s position of saying the locals should be asked what went wrong, flies in the face of reason and contemporary realities.

“Tied to that but not limited in scope is the issue of insecurity and a re-organisation of the Nigeria Police to accommodate present, peculiar, environmental and social challenges.

“In President Buhari’s view, State Police is not an option. Yet, it appears the continued killings in some localities of Nigeria, particularly in the North, and more specifically in his home state of Katsina, may not matter, hence, the need to have a security system that feeds on local intelligence and nuances, which the federal police cannot adequately provide, is not an option to our President.

“To him, it appears that continuing the same process while expecting a different output and outcome is the best way to go. We ask, is he comfortable with the killings in the land while the status quo persists?

“Nigerians should remind President Buhari that people evolve and societies evolve. Therefore, being trapped in a time capsule of the past about State Police is not an option Nigerians are willing to accept from him,” the statement read.

The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) described the president’s stance as unfortunate.

National President of MBF, Dr. Bitrus Pogu said, “It is unfortunate that President Buhari would say that State Police is not an option. He can only delay legitimate agitations of the people but cannot stop it.

“We must practice true federalism which is what Nigeria is. You cannot rule Nigeria as a totalitarian state. And the Federal Government cannot continue to impose on the federating units its authority using federal police and federal institutions.

“If we must continue as a federation we then have to operate as a federation. So all he (President Buhari) can do is to delay the process. There is no way such processes will not come to fruition because one of the aspects of true federalism is partial autonomy on some issues like policing and others by the federating units.

“Given what happened in Lagos, the federal police cannot do that. It is not acceptable, it is not tenable. The Governor is the Chief Security Officer of the State and should have authority in his state. No federal institution should impose anything on the Governor.”

 

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