Between Peace Corps And State Police: Which Is Preferred? By Michael Ayotunde
The argument in support of formation of state police owing largely to deteriorating crime rate in the country has been on for a while.
Successive administrations have however, considered it as unnecessary – with varying reasons being put forward to explain why Nigeria as a nation was not ripe for such security establishment.
Proponents, no doubt, have argued that the establishment of such vibrant security architecture at the local, state level remains the best option to frontally nip in the bud the many challenges that have prevented the country from having a more secure society – a place where people irrespective of where they come from will have peaceful co-existence with one another.
They noted that a centrally-controlled security architecture is no longer fashionable in a nation like Nigeria with huge population and landmass.
Other schools of thought believe that given the sensitive nature of having such an architecture vis-à-vis the high-handedness of our so-called leaders, at times, the country may be in for a tough time. This is because they believe the system can easily be compromised for selfish gains.
There is no disputing the fact that mindless abuse of systems, institutions in this part of the divide is at an alarming rate. The same systems which other nations of the world have utilized to their advantage have grossly been rendered useless and ineffective in Nigeria. Sure, this is done on purpose.
The multi-million naira questions to the resurgent proponents of state police now is: have the beautiful ones finally been given birth to? The very set or class of people that will run things the most acceptable and appropriate way? The very people that will not abuse the system?
This is because we were truly alarmed when the Prof. Yemi Osinbajo-led committee suddenly recommended state police as one of the potent strategies to address the myriads of challenges facing the country. In the same vein, some governors have joined forces to support the move. Of course, Osinbajo represent the federal government which had never showed interest or subscribed to the idea of restructuring the country, by way of further devolution of powers to the subordinate components that make up the country.
Our curiosity is further aroused when the vice president made the intention of his committee known to the general public – a development watchers say is coming to the fore when the nation is already warming up for another general elections. Could it be that the promise was made to douse tension in the polity? This is because the government has never been serious about most of the things it has promised to do.
One of such is the case revolving around the establishment of Peace Corps as another security institution in the country. Fine, the idea behind its establishment may not have come from the present administration at the federal level, but for a government that promised to provide jobs to teeming unemployed youths in the country, provide security and promote peaceful co-existence across the country, genuine establishment of the Corps could have been more apt and timely. But for whatever reasons best known to the president, he declined signing the bill establishing the Corps into law, and in the process dashing the hope of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians who would have either directly or indirectly been gainfully employed.
From all indications, the Peace Corps would have provided a fresh window to security management in the country, a development that may further give the people a new lease of life and sense of direction – away from the usually corroded and corrupted Nigeria Police Force.
The battle is actually not over. It is obvious the president was ill-advised by the same shylock people around him – people who never believe in a truly egalitarian society where there is equal opportunity for all irrespective of one’s tribal, economic, and socio-political standing.
When the two establishments are placed side by side, and with painstaking look into the challenges facing the country, Peace Corps definitely stands shoulder high to better manage the situation, instead of setting up state police – a formation to be farmed out of the present police formation. The Peace Corps and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) can further be structured to provide adequate security in the rural/communities even at state level.
No doubt, a new creation from the present police force can only extend the same rot and mess which are the hallmark of the police force in Nigeria. Was it a testimony or a coincidence that the Nigeria Police Force was recently tagged among the worse formations the world over? Fine the police authority disagreed with the submission, but sure they cannot disagree with the fact that military personnel are currently deployed in most states of the federation – which is a testimony to the fact that the Nigeria Police Force as presently constituted cannot effectively man the country.
It is unfortunate, too, that those in position of authority failed to realise this. This is because if the president and those around him realized this, the idea of jettisoning Peace Corps bill would not have arose in the first place. At worst, the president could have asked for further alignment and or upgrade to meet certain acceptable requirement to be able to function well, especially in areas where the regular police have failed. But where myopic thinking and or subjective thoughts are allowed to take the better part of oneself, there can never be that moment when good reasoning is allowed to have its natural course.
With criminal activities at an alarming rate; hostage taking, rubbery, human trafficking, farmers/herdsmen clashes, politically motivated assaults, terrorism threat, there is no doubt the urgent need for holistic appraisal of security formations in the country, particularly now that another general elections are underway.
It is time things are put in proper perspective and priority. Things are changing for the better the world over, Nigeria cannot afford to be left out. National interest should be paramount.
Parochial interest is never a virtue!
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