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Monday, July 23, 2018

Nigeria Already Operates State Police – Fashola

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, has declared that Nigeria now has state police.

According to him, there are already law-enforcement agencies in the country whose job is similar to that of police.

Speaking with Vanguard, the former Lagos State governor noted that it was important to put together a legislative framework around which all these can operate

His words, “As far as state police is concerned, I have written enough and I have said enough. I think that first; it is a good step that there is a new Bill seeking to address it. But the point to also make; and this is part of the commentary and conversation that comes into the public space; we want state police? No.

“We already have state police and nobody should deny that. Almost every state government has one law enforcement apparatus or the other. In Lagos, I can tell you about KAI, LASTMA and others.

“They are for law enforcement. That is what police do. Policing is enforcement. There are law enforcement agents for traffic offences; there are law enforcement agents for sanitation and environmental offences. Then you have the Neighborhood Watch. They are like the neighborhood vigilante collecting information. I think what is important is to stop hiding behind the finger and looking for state police. States fund police, I funded them as governor (of Lagos State).

“Many other states are still funding them. What is important is to put together a legislative framework around which all these can operate. It already exists; we should stop living in denial. I think what people want is something that will be more effective.

“What we did in Lagos was effective. We had bank robberies almost every week, sometimes twice without response. We ended that. We didn’t create a new police force. I went to President Yar’Adua and I said, ‘Look, I have people here who are at risk and all of that’. He said ‘what do you want to do?’ I said I wanted to import guns and I wanted to import ammunition.

“One is to have a police state where everybody is monitoring what everybody does. That is not what we want in our democracy. We don’t like that. We had a semblance of that during the dictatorship days where all of us were speaking in muted voices. Intelligence is actually you and I. Who is willing to share information with the police?”

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