OPINION I Does Nigeria Really Need State Police?
BY Mujib Dada-Qadri (Caballo)
“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.” This was said by devilish Littlefinger to Varys in an American fantasy drama televeison series "Game Of Thrones". Nigeria's statehood is obviously shivering, "angry flies" feasting on her wound and witch doctors playing pranks on her fate but not without cure, there is a cure. "The terrifying cry of a bereaved son can never stop the burial of his dead mother". Recently, we have witnessed scary monsters growing larger instead of shrinking, Boko Haram use to be our nightmare but we now have more monstrous visitors troubling as bandits, armed robbers, criminal herdsmen, cattle rustlers, kidnappers and ritual killers. They have all grown with "taller horns" using our homely forests as blankets. "Who are these bastard visitors?", we are all wailing but many of them have always been part of us, they just got more power from the "underworld" making them our "supreme husbands". We neglected millions of youths for years with no hope of survival let alone to live.
Interestingly, the intellectual elites have called for restructuring many times, mostly blindly though but "state police" has been one of the most significant and it is becoming more "sellable" as the "harsh winter" of insecurity gets more scary to us all. Is it truly the solution, is it just enough referring to America only, are we not getting more emotional and less rational. Well, "an uncommon corpse of an elephant will naturally call for different kinds of knives". But is it about the knives or the most suitable knife that will "wonderfully" dissect the elephant.
Fundamentally, in questioning the most popular opinion of Nigeria's Intellectual class always calling for "state policing" as the best alternative to demystify the Federal police system and make National security more efficient, i have "cooked" all these statistics/facts especially to investigate more rationally whether state police gurrantees any "miracle" like they have always preached. United State of America runs the most decentralized system of police in the world and also shares our kind of social fabric in terms of diversity, USA has the federal system consisting of Department of homeland security, Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI etc. Sheriffs' department in several thousands of counties. The police forces of about 1,000 cities and more than 20,000 townships crowned with over 250million population but ranks higher in crime rate compared to China and Indonesia with more centralized police system. China "swims" in over 1.2 billion population while Indonesia has over 500million, the crime rate ranked by World population review for 2020. I must also include that Isreal runs a "central police" system too with aggressive gun rights but with extremely less gun violence compared to USA. Let's keep "riding" if you are not convinced.
Furthermore, The murder rate is the number of murders per 100,000 people. According to the UN, the ten countries with the highest homicide rates are: El Salvador (61.80), Jamaica (57),Honduras (41.7), Belize (37.9), South Africa (35.9), Brazil (30.5), Saint Lucia (29.6),Guatemala (26.1), Dominica (25.7). Research confirmed that all these countries cited above run different kinds of police system, Central or decentralized police but they are still the biggest hit of homicide. Brazil for example also has a decentralized police system and shares very similar social fabric and political history with Nigeria.
Historically, British system birthed our police system but the British system cannot be categorically stated to be "decentralized" considering the complex security fabric of how they run territorial police services operating in regional/confederal ways working with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The system is a "dribbling" type and very unfamiliar with ours. Research has shown that there is no exact perfect example of the most successful style of policing as individual countries run in accordance with peculiarities. Countries like Japan, South Korea, Indonesia with lowest crime rates compared to America run centralized policing in unique ways while some like Germany, Canada, Australia and Switzerland run decentralized police system and achieve low crime rates. What should we say of European countries running police system not granting use of guns to policemen and some running "Military like" police corps like that of Brazil and Mexico having special squads similar to such.
In conclusion, considering the critical realities cited above, there is no exact report depicting that state police is the best as it is failing in some countries and working in some countries vice versa for Central police system. It can never be the suggestion of the writer for state police to be accommodated in Nigeria considering the current level "arm infiltration" especially in the North and South South and predatory politics of our state governors experimenting the Federal Police often times. Rather than advocating for state police amidst uncertainties considering the statistics above coupled with "covert and overt arms infiltration" into Nigeria, we should rather innovate creative solutions like the "Amotekun community policing initiative", advanced electronic intelligence use, advanced intelligence gathering methods, technology driven policing and reorganised Federal police command delegation. Some state governors have achieved progress in security under the federal police system. And most importantly we must improve the economy to be more redistributory, abundant and more productive so as to discourage urge for crime and plant productivity into the hearts of chronically unemployed youths.
Mujib Dada-Qadri is a Lawyer and a Policy Analyst.