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Nigeria not ready for state-controlled police – IGP



Olukayode Egbetokun

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have objected to the creation of state police, arguing that the country does not have the resources and infrastructure required for such a restructuring of the force.

Kayode Egbetokun, Inspector General of Police (IGP), made this statement on Monday at a national dialogue on state police organised by the House of Representatives in Abuja.

The theme of the dialogue is, ‘Pathways to Peace: Reimagining Policing in Nigeria’.

Represented by Ben Okolo, Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Egbetokun said Nigeria is not ripe for the establishment of state police due to lack of adequate resources in place for police infrastructure.

He also said that state governors might exploit the advantage of state police for political purposes, potentially resulting in power misuse and human rights violations.

Furthermore, he contended that individual state governments lack the necessary funding to establish the level of policing the country needs.

  • “On the issue of state police, it is the submission of the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force that Nigeria is yet to mature and ready for the establishment of state-controlled police.
  • This is due to the underlying reasons such as lack of adequate resources in place for police infrastructure like police colleges, training schools, barracks, stations and vehicles for the state government.
  • “Again, there are potential for abuse of power by state political leadership. State governors could use police forces under their control for political or personal gain and undermine human rights and security.
  • “Creating state police at the moment will exacerbate ethnic tension in the country. It could equally lead to potential for dividend loyalty as there will be multiple commands in the state,” Egbetokun said.

He, however, recommended the merging of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Federal Road Safety Commission to form a department in the Nigeria Police Force.

He also said there is a need for a yearly recruitment of about 30,000 police personnel into the force to meet the United Nations requirements for modern policing, while also increasing annual budgetary allocation to the force.

What you should know

The issue of state police has been a continuous debate in the Nigeria political and socioeconomic landscape for over a decade.

  • In February, Nairametrics reported that the Federal Government and the governors of the 36 states said they were considering the creation of state police as part of measures to address the worsening security challenges across the country.
  • This was part of the deliberations at an emergency meeting between President Bola Tinubu and the state governors at the Presidential Villa, in Abuja on February 15, 2024.
  • This was made known by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, while addressing State House correspondents after the meeting.
  • “There is also a discussion around the issue of state police. The Federal Government and the state governments are mulling the possibility of setting up state police.
  • “Of course, this is still going to be further discussed. A lot of work has to be done in that direction. But if our government and the state governments agree to the necessity of having state police, this is a significant shift.
  • “Like I said, more work needs to be done in that direction. A lot of meetings will have to happen between the Federal Government and dissolved nationals to see the modalities of achieving this,” Idris said.

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