A former Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, says Nigeria is not ripe for state police.
Mr Abba who served as the 17th Inspector-General of Nigeria Police, was appointed on August 1, 2014 by President Goodluck Jonathan and later confirmed as substantive IGP on November 4, 2014.
Mr Abba spoke while addressing journalists at the All Progressives Congress (APC) secretariat on Monday after picking the nomination form to run for the ticket of the party for Jigawa Central Senatorial District.
State police was one of the issues raised by the APC restructuring committee following the discourse on restructuring. Although the concept has been opposed by President Muhammadu Buhari, it has been supported by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Noting that policing is an expensive business, Mr Abba said he doubts the ability of states to finance their own police.
“From experience and from what we are seeing the state government going through with regards to payment of salaries, payments of pensioners, even paying or taking care of qualitative education for our children and considering the fact that policing is a very expensive business, you need to know the cost of ordinary helmet for a police man talk less of the protective jackets.
“These are very expensive issues. Ordinary gadgets of SPNH, gadgets for monitoring, are very very expensive and if the states cannot pay salaries, another important aspect of the socio-economic development of their communities, then how and why are they looking forward to shouldering this very big burden?”
The former IGP who stated clearly he was not against state police, said he doubts the true intention behind the current campaign for the issue of state police.
“And that’s why I have the feeling and I don’t hide it, perhaps some people are looking for another opportunity to compound the security problems of this country.
“While I was at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in 2009, I was assigned to conduct research on discipline in the Nigeria police. During the period and looking at the performances of the police from what the research presented to me, I realised that yes, there is the need perhaps to take another look at the structure of the police.
“I have nothing against state police like I said, having recommended it in writing far back even when it wasn’t a serious issue in this country. But I think at this stage, it looks as if some people are trying to look for what they can use to compound the security situation of this country. Maybe we can continue talking about it. We can continue fine-tuning it but I am not sure this is the right time.” Speaking on why he joined politics, he said two interests birthed his decision which is the interest of his people and his own interest to serve his country. “The interest of my people to have a better representation at the National Assembly and my personal desire to serve my country Nigeria at the national level again, and this is bearing in mind that representing the seven local governments that make up Jigawa central constituency does not end at conveying their views and vice versa, it also involves joining my colleagues in taking decisions that will affect the nation whether politically, economically, socially and other activities of human life that will put Nigeria in its rightful place in the comity of nations.”
When asked what his opinion was on the siege to the National Assembly and the homes of Bukola Saraki, Ike Ekweremadu and recently, Edwin Clark, he said “these acts have been condemned by many, investigations and some actions have been taken towards them.”
“Personally I have not seen where anybody has praised any of those actions you mentioned. Let me also say that in all the cases you mentioned, investigation are being conducted and even before the end of this investigation, some form of punishment have been taken on those involved so I think it’s not a matter for me to comment further on.”
Asked what his take was on the refusal of the current IGP to appear before the Senate, he said he would advise him to do so.
“I will certainly advise the IGP to respond by going there. I don’t think in any situation there is a better person to defend you than yourself. Of course we have lawyers who present the interest of their client but in all situation, this is my personal belief, your personal defence is always better.
“I had always appeared before the Senate whenever they needed me. Even at a time when everybody thought differently, I appeared before a committee of a Senate to make a clear presentation of what the situation was and I think it went on fine.”