National Conference okays State Police
The National Conference sitting in Abuja on Thursday broke a generational jinx with a resolution that henceforth, any state of the federation desirous of having a State Police Force can establish, fund and control it.
This resolution, when enacted into law would put to rest the long debate and controversies over the establishment of state police. The state police when established by states that desired them are to compliment the efforts of the Nigeria Police Force.
The areas of jurisdiction of the Federal police will cover the entire country and on clearly spelt out matters and offences while the jurisdiction of the State Police will cover the state and operate within the laws enacted by the State Assembly.
The conference also resolved that in addition to establishing state police, states laws should also provide for community policing. The decisions were made while considering the report of the Committee on National security.
The Conference agreed with the report of the Committee that state governors should be involved in the running of the Federal Police in their respective states. It was also agreed that officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police in the Federal Police should be deployed to their states of origin.
It was reasoned that this will address the concern of language and culture, as this group of officers actually constitute the operational component of the force.
To make the police more people friendly, the conference called for the amendment of section 214 of the 1999 constitution so that The Nigeria Police Force will be called The Nigeria Police.
A proposal for the establishment of a National Border Patrol Force to secure and protect the nation`s border was also approved by the conference. The Border Patrol Force is to be domiciled in the Ministry of Defence.
In mapping out security architecture for the country, the conference accepted the proposal for the creation of a Security and Intelligence Services Oversight Committee (SISOC).
The committee is to be composed of a retired Chief Justice of Nigeria as chairman, a former head of the Civil Service, and a former Director General of the State Security Service or National Intelligence, as members.
Similarly, the conference also accepted the proposal for the establishment of Water Way Safety Corps to man the waterways and riverine areas. The corps is expected to perform similar functions as that of the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC)
The proposals mandating government to enact a law that would impose speed limit on convoys of government officials and limit to the number of vehicle to be in such convoys were also accepted by the conference.
The number of vehicles in the convoys is to be determined by Federal Road Safety Corps in consultation with the Police and the Department of States Security Service.
Such a law is expected to reduce the recklessness of convoys of government officials which had in the past led to loss of lives; it would also reduce wastage of government funds.
The conference also agreed that retired military personnel should be mobilized and trained to fight terrorism.
In addition, government was also mandated to set up Counter Terrorism Architecture to among others: harmonize national counter terrorism efforts; and provide the platform for foreign assistance.
It would equally interface between Nigeria and Africa Union (AU) countries especially contiguous states such as Niger, Chad, Cameroun and African Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism and engage the services of well trained counter terrorism operatives to work within the established in-country infrastructure.
The proposal that the federal character outlook of the military be reflected at the entry point into the Nigeria Defense Academy in cases of officers and at the recruitment stages and training depots, in case of soldiers, airmen, and sailors was also accepted by the conference.
Conference also agreed that table of equipment including clothing should be updated regularly instead of waiting for the declaration of a state of emergency.
The conference at its plenary also approved the proposal for the establishment of a Military Industrial Zone which will include but not limited to collaboration with the industrial and manufacturing sector in the area of research and development, production, use and support for military, training weaponry and equipment.
A proposal for a compulsory life insurance for all armed security personnel by government was approved by the government.
The conference also accepted the proposal that the Federal Government should set aside a special fund to rehabilitate and reconstruct the North East, which has suffered devastating attacks from Boko Haram.
Similarly the conference also agreed that all the communities such as Odi in Bayelsa State, Zaki Biam in Benue state and others that were destroyed in the process on restoring internal peace be compensated.
On gender issue, the conference agreed to the proposal that government should ensure gender mainstreaming with respect to recruitment into the Armed Forces and the various security agencies.
The Conference also agreed that there should be a compulsory life insurance for all armed security personnel by government as well as imploring the Federal Government to look into all pending Police Reform Committees/Panel Reports and implement their recommendations.
It was agreed also that the Inspector general of Police should be the accounting officer of the Nigeria Police and be answerable to the Nigeria Police Council on financial matters.
Delegates agreed that the government should review the procedure of using the military in the aid of civil authority in matters of internal security because the existing procedure referred to as the “blue and brown cards” which was signed by the Prime Minister in 1960 is obsolete.
The Nigeria Air Force, the delegates indicated, should be more involved in the management of Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) in partnership with the Civil Aviation Authority in securing the country's airspace.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY, MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION