Veteran journalist and member of Nigeria’s Police Service Commission, Ray Ekpu has said the issues around the #EndSARS protests revolve around failure on the part of the police to accept civil authority and the forces’ lack of respect for human lives.
“The police in all organizations respect civil authority particularly in democracies, but maybe because of the trajectory of the police, where it’s coming from after many years of military rule, our police have failed to accept civil authority,” he said.
According to him, the police’s failure to accept and respect civil authority has given rise to the clamor for state police. He said Nigeria practices an anomalous democracy where the governor of a state is called the chief security of the state but is not in charge of the security of the state.
“The single police arrangement currently practiced in the country has not worked, it cannot work. The 2014 national conference deliberated on this and decided to recommend state police as the second tier police system in the country and it was a deliberation that was accepted unanimously.
“Even the ruling party itself decided to set up the Nasir El-Rufai committee in 2018 that went around the country, spoke to people in all the different zones, and presented its report.
“That report is gathering dust in somebody’s office and in that report, there is an overwhelming demand for state police, and those who wrote the report recommended it.
“I remember when the vice president was the acting President of the country he said to the public that we accept this report, Nigeria is too big a country to be run by a single police system, but as we speak now nothing has happened in that respect,” he said.
Ekpu said part of the problem with policing in Nigeria is that “the federal single policing system in Nigeria has not worked and is not likely to work as the federal government do not have the ability to recruit enough people to man all the 36 states and the nation’s capital alone.
“That is why you have the Katsina state government negotiating with bandits, saying stop killing our people and we’ll give you money. The primary responsibility of the government is to protect its citizens and provide welfare for its people, so the government has failed in that respect,” he added.