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Southern Govs Advocate State, Community Policing To Tackle Kidnapping, Others 

 Daud Olatunji 

The newly appointed Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, has announced that the region is advocating state and community policing as a strategic response to escalating security issues across Nigeria. 

This declaration followed a meeting held in Abeokuta on Monday, where Abiodun and 16 other southern state governors convened to discuss the pressing security situation.

The closed-door meeting, which lasted five hours, concluded with a unified stance from the governors, who stressed  the necessity of implementing both state and community policing systems to effectively combat the surge in criminal activities, particularly kidnappings for ransom and other violent crimes.

 The consensus highlights the growing frustration with the current centralised police structure and its inefficacies in promptly addressing security concerns at the state level.

Governor Abiodun, speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today reiterated the collective agreement among his colleagues. 

“We all spoke with one voice in support of state policing,” he affirmed. 

“We also support regional security outfits that have been established in almost all regions, working collaboratively with law enforcement agencies by providing intelligence and support.”

The call for state policing has been a contentious issue within Nigeria, with critics expressing fears that such a system could be misused by governors for political victimisation and intimidation. 

Despite these concerns, Governor Abiodun made a compelling case for the decentralisation of police powers, arguing that effective state and community policing is essential for the socio-economic development of the region.

“If indeed, we are going to be talking about how to enhance our socio-economic development as a region,” Abiodun stated, “we all know that we cannot have any meaningful development in an atmosphere of insecurity.”

Abiodun pointed out the current limitations faced by governors, who, although designated as the chief security officers of their states, have minimal control over police operations. 

Police commissioners report directly to the Inspector General of Police, a chain of command that can delay swift responses to emergencies.

“If the situation requires an emergency response, that lag between reporting to the IGP and coming back to us (governors) may have brought the state to some level of harm,” Abiodun explained. 

This bureaucratic delay, he suggested, hampers the ability of state governments to protect their citizens effectively and underscores the urgent need for a more localised and responsive policing system.

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