As enshrined in the Nigerian constitution, the primary responsibility of government, at any level, is the protection of lives and property of the citizen, says PDP chieftain Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
According to the former Vice President, it is in carrying out this function that the state employs different layers of measures to ensure effective and efficient policing.
In a statement on Sunday, the presidential candidate of the PDP in the last election said that it is without doubt that in the past decade particularly, the current policing administration in the country had been stretched to its limits, adding that it is obvious that the reality of the nation’s domestic security upheaval will demand that the people recalibrate the police systems.
Mr Atiku in explaining further noted that in the First Republic before things gravitated too much to the center, policing was done federally with each native authority and region having some mechanisms to deal with little upsets that were the security concerns of those times.
He added that in present-day Nigeria, there is hardly any state of the federation that does not contend with some type of security challenges.
The elder statesman argued that because the nation’s security challenges are diverse in forms and impacts, it is thus incumbent that centrally controlled police architecture cannot exclusively deal with those challenges.
Atiku stressed that consequently, there is a need for the creation of additional policing structures in the country to address the rapidly growing challenges of insecurity and crime.
“The time is ripe to seriously confront the reality of insecurity in the country by addressing the urgency of introducing state police, zonal police and community policing to complement the efforts of the current federal police.
“It is obvious that current levels of insecurity in the country are giving rise to major initiatives such as Amotekun and the issue need not be controversial in the first place.
“The police are likely to be more effective if they constantly operate in the same local community or local government because such closeness might create a bond with the local people, thereby enabling community cooperation and participation that would engender proactive outcomes in crime prevention,” Atiku stated.
He also said that Nigeria is a vast country facing enormous security challenges and, therefore, there is an urgent need to create more security structures at the local levels to reduce the burden on the federal police.
Sounding a note of warning, Atiku said that the issue of security should not be politicised and monopolised in the face of current alarming security challenges characterised by the fear of even travelling on our highways by the citizens who might be intercepted by kidnappers and taken hostage for ransom.
He argued that local policing shouldn’t be mistaken for an effort to hijack the role of the federal police or competition with the federal government.
According to the PDP henchman, the obvious inadequacies of the federal police to effectively deal with the rapidly growing security challenges make local policing not only desirable but also necessary.
“The police are more likely to be effective in areas where they are well known and trusted by the local communities who in turn are willing to share information about known criminals and criminal activities, thereby foiling those crimes before they are even carried out.
“It is a given perception that when people have a role in their own security, they are going to help to defeat the criminal in their tracks and that the more they are involved, the more likely they would perceive the police as their friends.
“In the envisage new order, states and local governments shouldn’t be reduced to peripheral players in policing and security matters. When local police structures are closest to the grassroots, emergency response will be more effective than the current unwieldy chain of command that renders local government chairmen ineffective when their people are under attacks,” Atiku stated.
He was of the opinion that it is refusing to adopt new ways of doing things that poses a threat to the unity of the country.
Atiku noted that he supports Community, State, and Zonal Police to complement Federal Police to deal with insecurity in the country, stressing that it has never been this bad to the extent of threatening the unity of the country.