The deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, says he noticed some of the shortcomings of the police force when he was kidnapped.
In an interview with THISDAY, Ekweremadu opined that a decentralised police system is suitable for a multi-ethnic society like Nigeria.
He said if the country continues to practice the federal police system it is operating, there will be a serious problem.
“I was once taken by armed robbers or kidnappers if you like. They took me for like two days. I saw the deficiencies of our police, because we passed several checkpoints. The type of policing we have is not sustainable and it is not good for the type of our structure. So, we need to find the type of police that can suit our purpose. If we do that, we will be able to secure the people and their properties,” Ekweremadu said.
“Remember that the constitution says that the primary purpose of government is the security and welfare of the people. The first thing we need to do is to make sure we are secured, even if you don’t provide them with jobs they can look for their own job. But if you provide jobs and then you don’t provide security, then nobody goes out for the job.
“So, if you have a multi-ethnic society, the usual recommendation is to run a federal system for which decentralised policing, not just the state police, decentralised policing goes beyond just having police at the state level. You may have to have police at the local government level, in some critical institutions like the universities and the national assembly.
“The important thing is how we coordinate it, to make sure that nobody is abusing it, that it is well coordinated, that there is a database where everybody keys in. This is what we should be talking about, but if we continue to do what we are doing, we are going to run into problem.”
He said state police “is the best way to go” but that it’s pertinent to come up with measures so that it would not be abused.
“Our colleagues in the national assembly said the governors will use it against them and stuff like that. Sometime some of them will move from being a member of the national assembly and become governors so when they become governors they become champions of state police, because it is convenient for them,” he said.
“We therefore need to find a way to make everybody understand that it is not about the temporary gains we have today.”
On September 10, 2000, Ekweremadu was kidnapped and released after two days in captivity. It wasn’t an easy thing but God was there for me.