The Commissioner of Police in Akwa Ibom State, Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi, has advised Nigerians to reconsider their agitation for state police, saying that the best option for the country is to equip the existing police to function effectively.
Mr. Ogunjemilusi, who was speaking on Saturday during a live interview with Inspiration 105.9 FM, Uyo, said it is very expensive to maintain the police.
“Have we been able to service what we have? Have we been able to equip the Nigerian police?” the police chief said.
“Security generally is very expensive. I wish that government would accede to the states creating their own police. But I can assure you that within the next two years some of the states would come back and hand over the police back to the federal government.
“In Canada, many of the states have handed over their police back to the federal government because of funding. It is so expensive.”
The police commissioner said from his experience in Bayelsa state where he served previously it was expensive to get the police, for instance, to patrol the waters.
“When I got to Bayelsa State, we were to go on patrol of some critical areas. We had to move in two boats. One of the boats was bullet-proof and very big. The second one was a normal boat. I got a bill of N1.6 million for fueling. I was embarrassed because that was the first posting to a riverine area. Actually, the governor mandated me to do that. I was so scared to go and present it to the governor because I didn’t know anything about boat and I thought my marine officer was trying to cheat me. So, I cut the bill to N1.2 million,” he said in the interview.
Mr. Ogunjemilusi said he later learnt from the governor that the money wasn’t enough to fuel the two boats.
“How many vehicles do you think a local government area will need for proper policing? There’s a local government area in Akwa Ibom that I went to, they said they have 86 villages.
“Policing is not as cheap as people think. When you look at power supply, for instance, you need generators in all the stations. You need communications. And also for every investigation, you need allowance.
The Nigerian police have been constantly criticised as being corrupt, anti-people, and ineffective in fighting crimes.
With the call for the restructuring of Nigeria gaining more grounds, many Nigerians are demanding the creation of state police.
The Nigerian governors on Monday expressed their support for the agitation.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Governor Abdulaziz Yari, said, at the end of a two-day summit organised by the Senate Ad hoc Committee on Review of Current Security Infrastructure in Nigeria, that the creation of state police would help in addressing spate of insecurity in the country.
“It is not all the states that are supposed to have the state police, those that could, should be able to have it,” Mr. Yari, who is the governor of Zamfara State, spoke on the cost implications of state police.
“It is something we cannot take off at the same time. We were created differently,” he said.