In a move to address the growing insecurity in the nation, President Bola Tinubu accepted the recommendation of the governors of the states to form state police on Thursday, February 15, 2024. Mohammed Idris, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, informed State House reporters about this during a meeting between the president and the governors at the presidential villa in Abuja. The President first proposed a rise in the police force size—now a little over 300,000—in October 2023.


In order to implement extensive reforms to the police force, Tinubu established a Constitutional Review Committee after the Nigeria Police Council conclave he presided over. Allowing states to establish their own police forces and facilitating community policing were two recommendations made during the 2014 National Political Reform Conference regarding the devolution of police powers.


As stated by the Director-General of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Asishanu Okaru, within the next four weeks, the other twenty governors of the states are anticipated to submit their opinions regarding the proposed creation of state police. In an effort to alleviate the widespread insecurity across the nation, sixteen governors had already voiced their support for the creation of state police. Stanley Nwkocha, the senior special assistant to the vice president on media and communication, revealed in a previous statement that the state policing initiative had discussions during a meeting of the national economic council, and that sixteen out of thirty-six states had already turned in their reports.


On March 21, 2024, during its 140th meeting, the NEC received reports from the sixteen governors at the Aso Rock Villa. Nwkocha emphasised that all the states across the country voiced their support for the establishment of state police and that it was expected that the other 20 governors, whose identities were not released, would also submit their reports.


Okaru stated, “The official position of the forum is in favour of state police. I don’t know of any state that is not in support of state police. I can tell you that I don’t know of any state not in support of the idea. The fact that the governors have not yet submitted their reports does not imply that they do not support the state police proposal. They are currently submitting their reports, and I assure you that we will resolve this issue within the next few weeks. This is the only way to go. The forum has come a long way. So, there’s a very strong consensus in support of state police.”


The objective of the 18-clause bill is to revise the following constitutional sections: 34, 35, 39, 42, 84, 89, 129, 153, 197, 214, 215, and 216. The House of Representatives has approved the measure to create a state police force after its second reading. Fourteen other parliamentarians, including Benjamin Kalu, the Deputy Speaker of the House, recommended moving the phrase “police” in the 1999 Constitution from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list.

By Chidimma NWAFOR

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