Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi, has stressed that governors remain resolute in their demand for multilevel policing arrangements to address the present ineffective federal policing structure. According to Fayemi, the establishment of Amotekun is only a mini-response by governors of the South-West governors to the yearning for a more localised policing structure with the ultimate vision that Amotekun will become the state police for the states of the South-West.

According to Fayemi, who was the guest speaker at the 7th Babatunde Oduyoye Annual Birthday Lecture, titled: “Security and National Unity in Difficult Times”, held on Tuesday, at the University of Ibadan, state policing or multi-level policing arrangement was key to effectively addressing the nation’s security challenges.

In making Amotekun thrive, Fayemi said the South-West governors were committed to continuous collaboration in terms of gathering and sharing intelligence to stem criminality and brigandage in the various states of the zone.

Fayemi said governors who are called Chief Security Officers were distressed because they had limited control over institutions constitutionally empowered to enforce security in their domains.

On fears of governors abusing powers, he said there was the Nigeria Police Council that should superintend over state policing and is constitutionally empowered to curtail excesses of state governors in terms of misuse of powers given to them.

Fayemi said: “We need a more localised federal power structure. We have started this here in the South-West with Amotekun. It is our mini-response to the growing challenge but ultimately, our vision is that Amotekun will become our state police. And we will continue to collaborate among ourselves, gather intelligence, share intelligence that will be of benefit in stemming the tide of criminality and brigandage in our various states.

“Even at the leadership level, we are distressed too partly because of the defective nature of our federal union which sometimes gives authority without power. We are Chief Security Officers in our various states but the extent to which we are able to control the levers of security particularly the institutions that are constitutionally empowered to enforce security in our domains is one that we don’t want to start discussing yet it is at the heart of this challenge we are dealing with. 

“At the level of the Nigeria Governors Forum, we have been insistent in a quite consistent matter that unless we approach the Nigerian security framework from the prism of a multilevel policing arrangement, we are not going to get to the bottom of this.

“There are many of our governors from all parts of the country who are advocates of multi-level policing as well because they have seen the result of the ineffective nature of federal policing in their own jurisdiction and they insist that we need to be in charge of security.

“We have a provision in the Nigerian constitution called the National Police Council which hardly functions except when we want to appoint the Inspector General of Police.

“The 36 governors are members; it is presided over by the President; the Chairman of the National Police Commission is there; the Inspector General of Police is there. This ought to be the body that superintends over state policing.

“One argument that objectors to multi-level policing put up is that the governors will use the powers to hound the opposition, to promote themselves and protect whatever they are doing. That may be true but you also know of the misuse of the federal police. So, anybody can misuse any powers given to them.

To address the nation’s insecurity, Fayemi noted the need to recruit a large number of people to join the police and the military even on a short service.

He particularly asked for the consideration of short term recruitment of members of the National Youth Service Corps to reflate the nation’s security force.

Fayemi said: “We need to have a conversation on how we can recruit a large number of people to join the police and the military even on a short service or otherwise. We are underpoliced as a country.

“I think we can be creative. We are daily churning out National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members.

“I think it is time to look at the possibility of using our NYSC as a possible short term recruitment drive because when nations are in difficulty, this is what they do. If you come out of university in Israel, you are automatically enlisted for two years in the Israeli defence force.

“You must serve your time and then go on and do whatever you choose to do if you don’t want to remain in the defence force. If we say we have a security challenge then I think we seriously need to think outside the box in order to deal with this,” Fayemi said.

The Ekiti Governor also identified the burgeoning youth population as a great challenge facing the country. 

He described the last EndSARS protest as the tip of the iceberg if the nation’s leadership does not listen to their agitations including providing them employment.

Fayemi particularly identified the need to grant the girl child free education till the end of secondary to tackle the burgeoning population.

“The greatest challenge this nation faces is youth explosion. And #EndSARS was the tip of the iceberg. If we don’t do something quickly, we are going into the first anniversary of ENDSARS. Those of us in authority may delude ourselves and believe we are in charge.

“We need to pay attention to the music the young people are playing. We also need to confront issues that are associated with our burgeoning population. There is no way we can continue to grow at the pace we are growing as a people.

“We cannot cope with it and that is why we have to have a very firm position that all our girl children must compulsorily be entitled to free and qualitative education right up to SSS3. If we were to do something about our population, we must do something about our girl child so that they don’t get taken away into forced marriages before they are actually proper adults. If we don’t do something about this, it will be the undoing of our country,” Fayemi said.

Chairman of the event, former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, in his remarks, demanded decentralization of the nation’s security apparatus.

He called for the application of federal character to the national security system while warning that justice and equity were critical to fostering unity in the country.

In his own remarks, Senator Rashidi Ladoja decried the massive relocation of Nigerians abroad for better opportunities due to the poor economic situation and tension in the nation.

He decried that youths and many Nigerians were becoming intolerant, warning that today’s level of insecurity and last year’s EndSARS will be a child’s play if the youths are not effectively engaged.

Chief Host, Governor Seyi Makinde, was full of eulogies for the celebrant, Babatunde Oduyoye, who he described as a unifier and committed personality.

 Source: Nigerian Tribune

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