IGP, Jonathan Lock Horns over State Police Implementation

A clash of perspectives emerged between the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, and former President Goodluck Jonathan during a national dialogue on state police organized by the House of Representatives. 

The contentious issue of establishing state police in Nigeria took center stage as both figures presented divergent views on the matter.

During the dialogue themed “Pathways to Peace: Reimagining Policing in Nigeria,” IGP Egbetokun, represented by Ben Okolo, an assistant inspector-general of police, vehemently opposed the notion of decentralising the police force, citing Nigeria’s lack of readiness for such a move.

 He underscored the myriad challenges confronting law enforcement agencies, including inadequate manpower, operational equipment, and training, as significant impediments to effective policing at the state level.

He said, “It is the submission of the leadership of the Nigeria police force that Nigeria is yet to mature for the establishment of state-controlled police.”

Contrary to the IGP’s stance, former President Jonathan stressed the urgency of implementing state police in response to the escalating menace of kidnappings across the nation. 

Jonathan highlighted the non-negotiable nature of the issue, emphasizing the imperative for states to have their own police forces to combat the rising insecurity.

He urged a comprehensive overhaul of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure impartiality and prevent the misuse of police powers for political gains.

 He called for a review of election processes, including polling booth arrangements and police involvement during elections, stressing  the need for legislative action by the National Assembly in this regard.

Jonathan, however, added that for state police to be implemented, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must be rejigged.

“So if we are talking about state police, we must also rejig INEC, and the police must not be used against or to the advantage of any political party.

“The issue of voting, the polling booths of INEC, and the use of police during elections has to be reviewed by the National Assembly,” Jonathan added.

 PLATFORM TIMES reports that while concerns over operational effectiveness, jurisdictional conflicts, and potential abuse of power remain significant hurdles, the urgent need to address escalating insecurity calls for a nuanced approach to policing reforms.

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