By Kasir Kura
Governors of the 36 states of the federation are yet to decide on state and local government police because their divergent financial status.
This was disclosed by the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and governor of Ekiti state Mr Kayode Fayemi while fielding questions from State House correspondents after an expanded Security Council meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said while some state governors had disclosed their ability to support state and local government police, others are still battling with the challenge of paying workers and pensioners’ entitlements.
“On whether state governors should be involved in state policing, the position of NGF on that is that we have not taken position because experiences vary. There are governors and states where their experience does not necessarily lean itself to more evolved policing to the states.
“There are also states where there are agitations for it, there are governors who have the views that that will work better in such states. And of course there are the economic issues relating to that. So we have the capacity at the state level to fund state policing, those are all issues that will come in play when we get to the national economic council meeting that has been called. Particularly because there is a committee that is looking into it after the submission of the report on SARS. So, we will take all of these together,” he said.
The NGF chairman said they briefed the president on the security situations in their domains, and assured him that they are ready to join forces with the federal government to end the security challenges in the country.
“The meeting was at our instance as governors of the 36 states collectively. It has to do with the security situation in the country, our concerns about the what’s going on all across the nation.
“We had a very fruitful meeting with Mr. President. Of course he was not oblivious of the challenges, he gets security reports on a daily basis, he understands what the issues are. But we felt as chief security officers in our respective states, it is also important for us to at least keep him abreast of the enormity or the challenges we are facing and also highlight the concerns of our citizens across board about rural banditry, farmers/herders clashes, kidnapping, militancy in the Delta, insurgency, cultism.
“So we discussed extensively all of these issues and looked at the various ways that we felt as governors we could assist Mr. President as the commander in chief to curb these issues. Of course we were able to in the first instance looked at the nexus between our economic challenges and the insecurity challenges as well. And the importance of tackling the causes of crime not just crime on its own,” he said.
The governor said the meeting also looked at the criminal justice system that appears to give some room for impunity, stressing that when people commit crimes and they are not punished effectively in accordance with the statutes, it creates an opportunity for replicating such crimes.
He said: “The President was also equally concern about that. He made it clear to us that we all knew that he campaigned on the basis of security, economy and accountability and these things are still the most germane issues on his agenda.
“And that he will also work with us to address questions of intelligence, of broadening community policing, of ensuring inter-service coordination among the various security agencies, of strengthening the criminal justice system, of working with our states innovatively on mechanism for addressing these issues. Be it security trust fund that brings the public and the private players together in other to fund security and increase the resources available to security institutions.
“Already, all of us are involved in funding. There is no governor that is not buying security vehicles, ammunition for police, giving allowances to our security agencies be they SSS, or police, or in some cases the military, where the military is involved. We are already involved. It is just to ensure that we have a better and much more coordinated mechanism for addressing this.”
He said the governors and stakeholders at the meeting agreed to the issues should be comprehensively dealt with at a special meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) in order to take quick responses that can reassure and build the level of confidence of the citizens.