President Tinubu restates commitment to security

Elizabeth AtimeApril 23, 20247 min

President Tinubu restates commitment to enhancing security in the country saying the idea of state policing is not just a mere policy proposal.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has reiterated his administration’s commitment to reform the Nigeria Police Force and boost security across Nigeria.

He further explained that the idea of state policing is not just a mere policy proposal, but a potential milestone in the evolution of the nation’s law enforcement framework that would create the opportunity to fashion law enforcement in a manner that would closely address the various demands of communities across the country.

The President made these remarks on Monday when he declared open a one-day National Dialogue on State Policing with the theme, “Pathways to Peace: Reimagining Policing in Nigeria,” held at the Abuja Continental Hotel.

President Tinubu who was represented by his deputy, Vice President (VP) Kashim Shettima,  noted that his administration is much aware of the complex security issues confronting Nigeria, and as such is continually developing and refining its strategies and methods to address the challenges effectively.

Declaring the President’s resolve to change the nation’s security narrative, the VP said, “The commitment of the administration of President Tinubu to reform the police force and enhance security at both the national and state levels is unwavering.

We view the outcomes of today’s deliberations as crucial inputs that will guide the government’s actions towards reforming the institution of the police and achieving a safer and more secure Nigeria.”

Senator Shettima implored participants at the National Dialogue on State Policing to look at the idea of state policing from multiple angles, saying the President deserves commendation for being open and proactive towards the idea of reforming and decentralising the police force.

He stated: “In our deliberations, let us consider the implications of state policing from multiple perspectives. We must evaluate its potential to improve response times to emergencies, adapt to specific local challenges, and increase accountability. At the same time, we must address concerns related to the standardisation of training, oversight, and the safeguarding of civil liberties.

“Our Dialogue today should also be seen as an opportunity to listen, understand, and propose solutions that bridge gaps. It is essential that this forum is not the end but the beginning of an ongoing conversation on the issue of police and security sector reform in our country.”

VP Shettima expressed delight that the 10th House of Representatives under Speaker Tajudeen Abbas keyed into the idea of state policing, noting that “the involvement of the legislature in executive reform proposals ensures continuity and synergy.”

On his part, the Chairman of the occasion, former President Goodluck Jonathan, commended the organisers of the national dialogue, saying “The issue today is not whether to establish state police but how it should be operated.  

There is no need to debate about state police.  The issues of state police and Coast Guards were accepted at the 2014 National Conference,” he added.

The former President said the Nigeria Customs Service and other agencies at the border are not trained to deal with criminal gangs, even as he asked the government to concentrate on how to manage the state police in a way that the political class would not hijack it.

He recommended that the Act establishing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should be rejigged so that the police are not used for election malpractices and stuffing of the ballot box in states.

In the same vein, former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) maintained that to make peace and ensure a safe society, governors must be transparent, responsible, and honest as well as make the citizens go about their normal businesses.

He said the government should make laws to provide for an orderly environment, urging citizens to stop destroying or vandalizing public properties as he advised that the traditional institution and royal fathers should be given roles to play and be engaged in maintaining peace and order in their respective domains.

Also in his remarks, Rep. Abbas, thanked participants at the Dialogue, especially President Tinubu, Vice President Shettima, Gen Abdulsalami,  and former President Jonathan for lending their voices to the issue of establishing state police in the country.

He stated that as former President and Head of State, their contributions will provide direction to the discourse on the issue of state police given the dimension of insecurity in the country.

In his opening remarks, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, thanked participants at the Dialogue, saying they are gathered for a critical national security dialogue that demands critical solutions.

He recalled that the national dialogue gained momentum after President Tinubu called a meeting of governors and other stakeholders at the Presidential Villa to discuss issues about establishing state police in the country.

The National Assembly is currently considering a bill towards establishing state police”, he said, stressing that other countries like the “United States of America have a multi-layer police system with federal, state, county and the FBI.”

Present at the event were the Deputy Senate President, Senator Barau Jibrin; Minister of Police Affairs, Ibrahim Gaidam; Minister of Budget and National Development, Dr. Atiku Bagudu, and Minister of State for Agriculture, Mustapha Baba Shehuri.

Others were former Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau; the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III; Ooni of Ife, HRM Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; the Obi of Onitsha, HRM Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe; the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, among others.

Elizabeth Atime

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