Sen Suswam opposes State Police, says it’ll worsen security situation

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By Philip Yatai

Former Benue governor Gabriel Suswam has kicked against the establishment of State Police, declaring that Nigeria would “go down” if governors had such powers.

“I won’t support the idea of having a Police Force controlled by the governors. It is not good for Nigeria.

“The Inspector-General of Police has said that Nigeria is not matured for State Police. I agree with him totally,” Suswam told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

He argued that the governors shall use the outfits to deal with political opponents.

“I was a governor for eight years and know the power the governors wield. If you add state police to them, the security situation will get just worse,” he said.

Suswam cited the governors’ attitude to local government elections to prove his claims that they were dictators.

“Local Governments are placed under the states and governors conduct elections into the councils.

“The ruling party always pick all the seats and won’t allow the opposition to pick even a councillorship seat.

“To perfect such a dictatorship, they use the federal police. Imagine what will happen when they have a state police force under their armpits,” he argued.

He recalled that the Native Police in the then Northern Nigeria was disbanded because of its arbitrariness and misuse of power.

“The hardline attitude of the Native Police will be a child’s play when compared with what state governors could do with a police force totally under their control,” he said.

He, however, agreed that some governors would use the state police positively, but that majority of them would misuse such force.

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“Clearly, the state police will breed crises and there will always be a clash between the state and federal police which may breed more insecurity and confusion,” he said.

He expressed fears about where the states could recruit the state policemen from.

“There is unemployment everywhere; there is criminality around. There are also thugs ready for any assignment.

“The tendency is for governors to recruit these people and throw them at the society. When that happens, imagine what we shall all face,” he said.

Suswam opted for community policing to help local settlements monitor the movement of people in, and around, their areas.

“Communities can have teams that can monitor their areas and report the presence of strangers and suspicious movements.

“Such teams could be empowered to use some force, when necessary, to apprehend suspicious persons and hand them over to the Police.

“They should also have proper orientation to know their powers and appreciate their limits,” he said.

Suswam urged the government to fund the Police Force properly and give them modern tools to fight crime in the society.

He urged the National Assembly to look at the idea critically and place national interest above the desires of state governors.

Suswam also commented on the worsening security situation in Benue and alleged that the local militias were collaborating with bandits to attack the rural dwellers.

“If the local militias were not colluding with the bandits, there would have been peace now.

“Generally, the security issue has been politicised. Our boys collude with those attacking us. That is the scary dimension to the crises,” he fumed. (NAN)

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Edited by Polycarp Auta

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