The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has again advocated for the democratisation of the police force to stem what it called the menace that is about to consume the country.
The group in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, expressed regret that the more insecurity seems to be enveloping the country, the more the government appears to be losing grip of how to deal with the menace.
It berated members of the National Assembly for recently voting against the empowerment of state governments to set up state police, urging state governors and members of the various Houses of Assembly to mount pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly “if they are sincere in putting an end to the menace of insecurity and terrorism in the Nigeria today”.
Ajayi observed that the spate of insecurity and safety infractions make Nigeria look like it is in the state of war, challenging those at the helms of affairs to be more sincere in finding effective solutions to the problem.
“The immediate strategies to end the scourge are to quickly allow states and local government councils to have their own police force, strengthen the existing security forces and motivate security personnel adequately. Government should also create the atmosphere for youths in the country to be productively engaged, respect the rule of law including fundamental rights of the Nigerian citizens as well as stop treating terrorists and bandits with kid gloves,” he said.
To make the strategy enduring and effective, Ajayi called for the amendment of section 214 of the 1999 Constitution to enable states and local government councils to have their own police forces, stating that the section which made the Nigeria Police Force exclusive to the federal government should be reviewed to read: “The National Assembly, States Houses of Assembly and the Local Government Legislative Arm shall legislate on police and security matters in their respective areas of jurisdiction.”
While reiterating its earlier calls for the observance of true federalism in the country, the pan-Yoruba organisation said most of the issues on the exclusive legislative list be reduced considerably.
Ajayi, who frowned at the operators of the present Constitution for their dictatorial tendencies also blamed the said document for its unitary nature, recalling that in the 1999 Constitution, “68 items are on the Exclusive Legislative List while only 12 are on the Concurrent List. Meaning that only the federal government can act on 68 items that have to do with the lives of Nigerians while states that are closer to the people can act only on 12 items.”
“This is a big slap on the spirit of federalism. It must be changed to vest more power on states and local government councils especially on such issues as security, natural resources, education, health, transport etc”, he submitted.