By Opeyemi Aremu-Gbemiro
Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Ekiti State, Mr Olawale Fapounda, says there is the need for a holistic reform of the Nigeria Police Force.
“We need a police force that is sufficiently endowed to protect our lives and properties,’’ he told the Ekiti State Committee on Constitutional Review, which he chairs.
Fapohunda noted that the quest for a virile and diligent police force was at the center of last October’s #EndSARS protests in parts of the country.
Highlighting the points Ekiti State would put forward when it engages the National Assembly’s committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution, he said many institutions in the country needed reforms.
“What is of concern to Ekiti State is security and the capacity of our policing arrangement to respond effectively and efficiently to the security needs of all those living in the state.
“On this issue, Ekiti State is convinced that the federal nature of policing in Nigeria is a stumbling block to achieving effective policing.
“It is government’s view that policing must be local to achieve citizens’ confidence; a necessary condition for effective policing.
“It is for this reason that government will be proposing an alteration of the Constitution to provide for the creation of States Police Force,’’ he said.
He said also that there is the need for youths’ inclusiveness in governance and in making decisions that affect their lives.
“The issue of youth inclusiveness in governance has dominated youths’ debates in Ekiti State since the #EndSARS protests
“Since the inauguration of the Ekiti State Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, I have received several communications from young persons and various youths’ interests on this issue.
“They are specifically requesting that the age of entry into the various political offices be lowered to enable youths’ representation,’’ Fapohunda said.
He added that several of the communications were against the non-mention of youths as an agenda item in the on-going constitutional review process.
He said Ekiti State would also seek constitutional review on the Rights of Women.
The commissioner noted that the state was at the forefront in the protection and promotion of the rights of women and girls.
“We have enacted some of the most progressive laws in Nigeria and backed these laws up with effective enforcements.
“We have adopted as state policy, zero-tolerance for all forms of violence against women and insisted on harsh sanctions for sexual violence, especially where the victim is a minor.
“We name and shame sex offenders and ensure that they are registered in government’s Sex Offenders Register.
“Ekiti State firmly supports the need to create more space for the participation of women in public life and support proposals for the redrafting of the 1999 Constitution.
he’ orhim’, which dominate most provisions in the Constitution, could be replaced with
he or she’ andhim or her’,’’ he said.
Fapohunda said that Ekiti State’s other area of concern is the nature of the federalism practised in Nigeria.
“We are concerned about the concentration of too much power at the center, including powers that logically should be concentrated in the states.
“It is a present and clear impediment to the development of Ekiti State.
“It is, therefore, important that we partner with states that share similar views with us on the issues I highlighted.
“It is also important that with partner with stakeholders on many other issues that go to the very root of our nation’s togetherness in making real, relevant and lasting changes.
“Ultimately, our participation in the review process is to ensure that issues affecting the economic growth, peace and security of Ekiti State are treated within the national debate on the Nigeria of our dreams,’’ the justice commissioner said. (NAN)