Dr Salihu Lukman, Director-General, Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), says state police can only operate effectively in Nigeria, under the supervision of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
Lukman, who made the observation in a statement on Friday in Abuja, said that the idea of amending the Constitution to enable state governments to establish state police was unavoidable.
“However, there are conditions that must be met before any decision to establish state police can serve as a good response to Nigeria’s security challenges.
“This includes the requirement that processes of regulating the operations of the state police should be centralised as part of the functions of the federal police.
“Under that, for instance, issues of recruitment, qualification, background checks for those to be recruited, enforcement of disciplinary requirement, arms procurement and training for weapons handling, among others, should be handled at the federal level,” he said.
He said that the conditions were critical to ensure uniform policing standards across the country.
Lukman said that the situation would be like the case of universities with National University Commission (NUC) serving as the regulatory body and enforcing standards across all Nigerian universities.
He said that there was also need for a new funding arrangement, once the creation of state police was considered, to ensure their effective operations.
Lukman said that such funding arrangement should insulate the operations of NPF, including the new state police to be established, from the uncertainties surrounding public financial management.
He, however, noted that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government had taken steps to equip the country’s security agencies, build morale and address security challenges.
“Efforts are also being made to promote community-led solutions, develop new security infrastructure and operations across land and maritime environments to address the underlying drivers of insecurity, which are poverty and youth unemployment,” he said.
Lukman said that encouraging reports were already emerging from the various theatres of operations in the country, even though serious challenges still existed.
“For instance, the tide has turned against Boko Haram and ISWAP in the North East and is turning against the bandits and criminals in the North-West.
“In the South East, relative calm has returned and efforts are ongoing to fully neutralise the militant networks that have been troubling the region.
“In the coastal areas, the full rollout of the Deep Blue and Falcon Eye surveillance and security projects is certain to deal a strong blow on the activities of pirates and militants in the weeks and months ahead.
“Certainly, all these measures can be strengthened, and the government can do more, especially in relation to getting our security agencies to be more accountable,” he said.
Lukman, however, said that there was still a long way to go in restoring a robust sense of security in the country.