Nigeria not mature for state police – Ex-IGP Abubakar

A former Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has said Nigeria is not mature for state policing considering the challenges it is currently facing.

He said this at the 20th Centre for Values in Leadership annual lecture and international symposium with the theme, “Insecurity, State Legitimacy and Human Progress in Nigeria” held in Lagos on Monday.

Abubakar said the country can start to talk of state police once it has a responsible and committed political leadership in this country.

He said, “There is no country in the world that has the best security without first reforming and restructuring the police force. Most of the Arab nations are police states and this is because the law is respected. 

“No matter how big you are, you cannot break the law. But in Nigeria, when you go out there, you will see how everybody is blowing sirens on the road. You will see them carrying mobile police and military officers.

“When we talk about the issue of state police, and we go back to the 80s, we did not have the challenges we are having now.

“Except we have a very responsible and committed political leadership in this country, that is when everything can change.

“If you have a state police and you have an irresponsible governor of the state, that means we are back to square one. We can ask for state police but we are not mature for it now in view of the challenges we are going through as a nation.

Abubakar also expressed concern over the welfare of the police force, just as he called for restraining and re-equipping the officers.

He said, “Welfare is a key issue. The condition of barracks of security operatives is not good enough and you expect them to function effectively.

“Our security forces need to be restructured, retrained, reorganised and retrained to serve the purpose for which they were created. Every security agency is now working in their own interest.”

Former Commander of the Special Task Force Operation Safe Haven, Major General Henry Ayoola, said the current state of insecurity in the state was not accidental.

He said, “What is happening in the country is not accidental and incidental. Something brought us to this point. We don’t like talking about how we got here and if we don’t talk about how we got here, we cannot know how to get out.

“Leadership in Nigeria is just for people to expand their tentacles and not about serving anybody. We must put our leaders on their toes. We must put pressure on them to do what they had promised to do. 

“When we went to military school, we got our results on the spot. This nation has worked in some areas before but we’ve run everything aground. We must start all over again and start with section 23 constitution.

“And it should be indoctrinated because the power of indoctrination cannot be trivialised.”

A former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, said the citizens have roles to play by understanding their civic responsibilities to the state.

Ezeoba, who called for attitudinal change said it will change the narrative of bad leadership in the country.

He said, “A leader must evolve from within the society. If we say a leader is corrupt then we must say that the society has a semblance of corruption. For us to change the narrative, we must be able to change our attitude.

“The character of the society needs to be addressed. The followers have the responsibility to sustain and substantiate their rights. If a leader has bad followers, they will find it difficult to lead.

“The followers need to understand their civic responsibility to the state. These have been neglected by the citizens themselves.”

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