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State Police and Proliferation of Arms in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges.

State Police and Proliferation of Arms in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges. 


Chris Akani, PhD Ignatius Ajuru University of Education Rumuorlumeni, Port Harcourt Rivers State, Nigeria. 


One of the essential duties of the State is the protection of life and property of the people. Without this protection, human freedom would be in danger, and individuals cannot optimize their creative potentials. In Nigeria, the work of policing has been centralized in the Nigeria Police Force. But from the late twentieth to the twenty- first centuries, there has been call to decentralize the police in compliance with federal principles, enhance efficient service delivery and curb corruption. Therefore, this study seeks to examine the possibility of State Police and the attendant proliferation of arms. The method of data collection was based on two sources. These are the primary and secondary sources. The primary sources include interviews and discussions with experts that were randomly selected across Rivers state, while the secondary sources include a review of existing literature, police magazines, official bulletins, visit to some research Institutes like the Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian law (IHRHL) in Port Harcourt, the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs and the Centre for Black Arts and African Culture (CBAAC) in Lagos. We also browsed the internet for information as they bear relevance to the study. It was discovered that considering the undemocratic character of politicians, creating State Police would be regrettable and 

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emboldening human insecurity . We therefore, recommend that the art of policing the country should be within the exclusive list, for unity and reflection of the country’s historical experience. 

Keywords: Human Rights, State, Property, Nigeria Police Force, Human Insecurity 


Nigeria is located between latitudes 4020’ and 140 North, and longitudes 3020’ and 14030’ East, with a geographical space of 923,768 square kilometers (Otite, 2000:1). It has an estimated population of 198 million (National Bureau of Statistics, 2018). The country witnessed a system of colonialism consciously designed to perpetuate domination, brutality and exploitation by Britain. From the bombardment of Lagos in December 1851, and the 1898 Shelburne committee to October 1, 1960, what became Nigerians was instituted. In all ramifications, it had the trappings of a dependent capitalist state, presided over by a bourgeois class that is alienated from the masses, with an externalized economy. A state is a social institution, with dynamism and saddled with responsibilities to protect life and property of the people. As an institution that superintends over all institutions within its spheres, it advances development, creates a congenial atmosphere for the governed to unleash their entrepreneurial force, and has the monopoly of the use of force. It is against this background that the State is often referred to as a behemoth, but worth within the confine of the law. The historic role of the State in governance and external relations has undoubtedly made it the fulcrum of all security, the protector and guarantor of all privileges in the society, and the vehicle for the maintenance of any modicum of good living (Nnoli, 2003:76). To accomplish the seminal function of law and order, the Police is created and given the necessary training to enhance service delivery. In Nigeria, the business of formal policing commenced in Lagos colony, but later became an exclusive preserve of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This 

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paper seeks to examine the debate for State Police and the concomitant arms proliferation: What are the possible prospects and challenges? Data collected was based on primary and secondary sources such as interviews, discussions, review of existing literature and visit to some research institutes. 

History of Policing in Nigeria 

Policing is as old as humanity. The uncertainties and dangers inherent in human environment and social relationship require a modicum of order and stability for the goals of development to be attained. In the pre-colonial Nigeria, the onus of communal protection rested with the youths, and in a hierarchical leadership an institutionalized mechanism for law and order is kept in place. Tamuno (1970) noted that members of the ethnic police force were armed with knife and a short stick for defense and combat against violators of community norms and rules of conduct. The rudimentary character of their Police was determined by their level of social development. It would be apposite to clarify the concept of policing before we delve into the history of policing in Nigeria. The word Police is derived from the Greek word, polis. It is that part of non-religious administration that is concerned with safety, health, and carried by the State. For the Greeks and the Romans politeira and politia respectively are under the State, and specialized in the responsibility of safety, health and protection. The Police in modern English refer to a group of men and women organized by the State or government as a paramilitary force whose duty is to control and prevent crime, and expected to defend the status quo, that is to legitimize and defend the prevailing distribution of power and wealth in the society (Jaja, 2010:24). The Police is one of the intelligence apparatus of the State established by statute to prevent crime, prosecute deviants and create an atmosphere of law and order so that the State can perform its statutory duties with ease. It is concerned with preservation of rules of conduct and norms which people require to obey and observe (Jaja, 2010:43). According to Odukenle (2004:6), 

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Policing means doing police work, carrying out police duties or activities. To do so, sometime involves coercive force in the maintenance and preservation of law. However, the central objective for the establishment of a police system is to provide security to life and property of people it serves. In essence, to prevent crime, criminality as well as maintain public order and peace. 

The various Ethnic Police Force (EPF) in Nigeria virtually performed the same functions enumerated above. Obasanjo (2014:68) stated that: 

The year (1904) also witnessed the opening of the native council and the Mixed Court which was a mini-superior court for hearing cases involving non-native of the city that year; also the Egba United court inaugurated its own police force. It appointed a European to head it in 1910. Unfortunately, by the mid-nineteenth century, the EPF started witnessing an eclipse. This was because of the growing penetration of colonialism and its forces into Nigeria. Under the guise of stopping slave trade, Lagos was bombarded on December 25, 1851. With H.M.S. gunboat like Sampson and Bloodhound, and after a series of threats, intimidation and pressure, Lagos was annexed by Britain as a colony. With the annexation of Lagos, the need for security and protection became imperative. This was how the Lagos police was constituted. Okemuyiwa (2012:3) stated that in the 1861: 

Marcaskey who later became the acting governor, established a constabulary of 30 men which effectively signaled the origin of modern police in Nigeria. By 1862, the British government has increased the constabulary to 

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100 and by the following year, there were 600 men on the nominal role of the constabulary. 

To ensure the efficacy of service delivery, Mr. H. S. Freeman who assumed the Governorship of the colony on January 25, 1862 went further to establish the Police court, Commercial Tribunal, Criminal and Slave Court. He also established what was christened the Consular Guards or Constables made up of 25 men (Jaja, 2010:57). With the deepening complexity of administering the colony, it became necessary to have an armed police ostensibly to subdue traditional potentates and anti-colonial agents. This was how in February 1863, the armed police often called the Hausa Armed Police (HAP) was formed with 100 men of Hausa extraction. By 1865, there were two police forces – the civil police with a semi-military status under the command of Superintendent Isaac H. Willoughby and the HAP under Captain J. H. Glover. On January 1, 1896, the Police Ordinance No. 10 of 1895 separated the civil police from the Armed Hausa Police. They were merged through the Gold Coast Constabulary Ordinance of No. 3 of 1879 under the Governorship of Alfred Moloney. It was in 1879 that the Police Ordinance streamlined what became the statutory duties of the force. Jaja (2010:61) stated that: 

The duties of the force include the detection of crime, prevention and the repression of public disorders. It also stipulates that the force is responsible for the defense of the colony and its protectorate from external disturbances. Police officers who are above the rank of sergeant- major, have the power to prosecute an offender of the law before the District commissioner of Police or a Police magistrate. The police force was placed under the control of a Commissioner of Police (CP). The first CP was Captain J. A. Hamilton. As the colony was reviewing its police affairs, the Protectorates were not static. The oil Rivers (Niger 

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coast) Protectorate had its own constabulary. When the Royal Charter granted the Royal Niger Company (RNC) in 1886 was abrogated in January 1, 1900, several changes took place in the organization of the police force. According to the Police Proclamation Act No. 4 of 1902, the Niger Coast Constabulary assumed the name of the Southern Nigeria Police, and in 1903, the Northern Nigeria Police emerged after the extinction of the RNC constabulary. These changes were the consequence of the Niger Committee report in 1898 headed by Lord Selbourne, The Committee favoured the desirability of amalgamating British acquisitions when practicable and of associating the traditional rulers with the administration (Okafor, 1981:27). Okoi (1967:35) asserted that an Order-in-council was promulgated whereby the Niger Coast Protectorate formed in 1894 and the Royal Niger Company’s territory south of Idah on the Niger was proclaimed the Protectorate of southern Nigeria. The area to the North of Idah became the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria, and Lagos with the surrounding districts became the colony and protectorate of Lagos. The 1914 Amalgamation under Lord Lugard also affected the police structure. Akani (2014:1260) noted that the Amalgamation was not determined by any political expediency, but overtly to relieve British taxpayers the burden of subsidizing the budget deficit of Northern Protectorate, so that they could benefit from the surplus of Southern Protectorate. The amalgamation of the two Protectorates into one administrative entity laid the theoretical framework for a united country. It is important to state that the Native Authority Ordinance No. 4 of 1916 empowered the Native Authorities (NA) to maintain law and order in their respective domains. The responsibility of the native police fell under the management of the Native Authority (Okemayiwa, 2012:6). According to Okafor (1981:127), 

The native authorities were integral parts of the machinery of government. They were not two sets of rulers, British and native working either separately or in cooperation, but a single 

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government in which the traditional authorities had well-defined duties and acknowledged status side by side with the British officials. In spite of the bloated powers of NAs, they were still subjected to the scrutiny, control and manipulation of the colonial authorities. The Native Authority Ordinance of 1933 stipulated that the Governor alone was empowered to exempt people from the jurisdiction of the native authority (Okafor, 1981:126). By the early 1930s, the police force, through the Police Ordinance No. 2 of 1930, witnessed a change. Consequently, the Police came under the control of an Inspector-General of Police (IGP), with Mr. C. N. Duncan as the Pioneer IGP. He was assisted by a Deputy Inspector- General (DIG) and two Assistant Inspector-General (AIG), one each for Northern and Southern Nigeria. By 1955, the Police witnessed a monumental transformation when it started recruiting women for secretarial duties and treatment of female offenders. When the country attained statehood in 1960, Police affairs became part of the exclusive list in the constitution. Section 105 of the 1963 constitution stated that: 

There shall be a police force for Nigeria, which shall be styled the Nigeria Police Force. Sub- section 4 stated that subject to the provisions of this section, no police force other than the Nigeria Police Force shall be established for Nigeria or any part thereof. 

In what seem to be a negation and conflict with the purport and spirit of section 105(4) of the 1963 constitution, sub-section 7 clearly and unequivocally stated that: 

Nothing in this section shall prevent the legislature of a Region from making provision for the maintenance by any native authority or local government authority established for a 

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province or any part of a province of a police force for employment within that province. 

It is glaringly that the 1963 constitution made provision for a dual police force – Federal and Regional. This was the situation until the first military intervention on January 15, 1966. The unwholesome consequences of this constitutional arrangement prompted General Thomas Umunakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi, first Military Head of State to set up a Police Reform Committee headed by Gobir. According to the Head of State, There is need for a clarification of the general impression held in this country about the services provided by the Department of Police and prisons. You will therefore, have to examine the factors which have contributed to producing a distorted image of the machinery for the public administration in the minds of Nigeria Republic and formulate concrete proposals for correcting any deficiencies (Okemuyiwa, 2012:7). Sadly, General Aguiyi-Ironsi did not live to examine the report of the committee, but subsequent statutes strengthened the powers of the police force, and abolished state or Regional police. Section 194 of the defunct 1979 constitution and section 215 of the 1999 constitution as amended gave the Federal Government the sole responsibility to control and maintain the police force.Subsequent laws which enhanced the powers and frontiers of the police include: the Police Act Cap 154 laws of Nigeria, Decrees 36 of 1971, No. 35 of 1979 and No. 21 of 1975. The latter Decree established the Traffic Warden as a section of the police force. Today, the Nigeria Police Force has a staff strength of 371,000 organized into 36 commands, 12 zones and 7 administrative units. There are also 12 Mobile Police (MOPOL) Commands and 52 Police squadron. All these are headed by one IGP. From 1964 when Louis Edet became IGP to 2018, there has been 19 IGPs with 

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Ibrahim K. Idris as the current IGP ( nigeria-police-facts-you-need-to-know, Retrieved on April 17, 2018). 

The Need for State Police. 

The debate for the creation of state police in Nigeria can be traced from Lagos State when Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu was the Governor of Lagos state and Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo as the President. It was prompted by the perceived high-handedness of the Federal Government, especially in the manipulation and operations of the Police. The protagonist argued that state police was in consonance with Section 2(2) of the 1999 constitution as amended. State police would afford the component units of the Federation, the opportunity to police their spheres of influence for law and order. Some states went further to create more Local Government areas pursuant to section 8(3) of the 1999 constitution as amended. While Lagos state created 37 LGs, Bayelsa 18 and other states were on the threshold of finalizing their process. But this was torpedoed with the Supreme Court judgment involving the Attorney General (AG) of Lagos State and AG of the Federation. In a lead judgment, Uwais C. J. N. declared that: 

Having read all the provisions of the constitution aforementioned, I am satisfied that the House of Assembly, Lagos State has the right to pass the creation of Local Government Law No. 5 of 2002 and to amend it by passing the creation of Local Government Areas (Amended) Law 2004. What follows is that the law enacted are both valid laws since the House of Assembly of Lagos State has the power under section 4, subsection (6) and (7), of subsection (1) and 8 subsection (3) of the constitution to legislate in respect of the creation of new local government areas and local government councils which are one and the same for the 

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purpose of section 162 subsection (3) and (5) of the constitution. However, in the context of section 8 subsection (5) and section 3 subsection (6), such laws cannot be operative or have full effect until the National Assembly make the necessary amendment to section 3 subsection (6) and part 1 of the First Schedule to the constitution. The effect of this is that the laws are valid but inculcate until the necessary steps as provided by the constitution are taken by the National Assembly (Odion-Akhaine, 2009:69- 70). 

What was regarded as a mere reflection of political differences between Lagos State and the Federal Government more than a decade ago, has become a regular mantra evoking a cacophony of arguments and agitations. Today, almost all the state Governors have consented to state police. They strongly argue that it would strengthen their security without having to kowtow before the CP whose allegiance is towards the centre. In fact, section 215(4) of the 1999 constitution as amended clearly stated where the loyalty of state CP lies. It noted that: 

Subject to the provision of this section, the Governor of a state or such commissioner of the government of the state as he may authorize in that behalf, may give to the Commissioner of Police of that state such lawful directions with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order within the state as he may consider necessary, and the Commissioner of Police shall comply with those directions or cause them to be complied with provided that before carrying out such direction 

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under the forgoing provisions of this subsection the Commissioner of Police may request that the matter be referred to the Government of the federation as may be authorized in that behalf by the President for his directions. 

The Governors are of the opinion that this section has greatly arms twisted their absolute control of the state, and reduced their status as the Chief Security (C.S) of the state. According to Governor Abdulaziz Yari, Chairman of Governors Forum and Governor of Zamfara State, states that have the capacity for state police should be allowed to have it. Even the All Progressive Congress (APC) Committee on Restructuring, headed by Governor Nasir el-Rufair, Governor of Kaduna State, recommended for a state police. State police is not only seen as a sine qua non for peace, but in accordance with the principles of federalism. In fact, those who subscribe to state police see it as a necessary solution to the emerging human insecurity in the country. According to the Amnesty International report, there were 549 killings in 2017, and from January to April, 901 were killed by herdsmen (Guardian, 2018). The states most affected include Yobe, Adamawa, Borno, Kaduna and Benue. According to Femi Adesina, Media Spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, between 2013 to 2015, 750 people were killed by herdsmen (Punch, 2018). This means that from 2013 to April 2018, more than 2,206 people have been killed through violence (see table 1). 

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Table I: Number of People killed from 2013 to April 2018 

S/No. Year No. of Death 1. 2013 190 2. 2014 231 3. 2015 335 4. 2017 549 5. 2018 168 (January) 6. 2018 901 (January to April) 

Total 2,206 Guardian, 2018; Punch, 2018 

From the above, we can see that the first four months of 2018 was deadly compared to other years. Out of the six political zones, the North – East registered the highest death within the period under review (see table II). 

Table II: Number of death in the Geopolitical Zones 

S/No. Year No. of Death 1. North Central 270 2. North West 193 3. North East 591 4. South West 136 5. South East 30 6. South – South 131 Total 756 Punch, 2018 

The wanton killings by cattle herdsmen and the marauding activities of Boko Haram involving the kidnap of more than 200 Girls Secondary School in Chibok and 110 students of Government technical College, Dapchi have almost turned Northern Nigeria to a zone of death. According to the 2015 Global Terrorist Index (GTI, 2015:2), 

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The country (Nigeria) witnessed the largest increase in terrorist deaths ever recorded by any country increasing by over 300 percent to 7,512 fatalities. Boko Haram, which operates mainly in Nigeria, has become the most deadly terrorist group in the world. Boko Haram pledged its allegiance to Isil (also known as the Islamic State) as the Islamic State’s West Africa province. It is often argued that the escalation of these deadly activities arise mainly because the police and other security agencies are not within the control of the state. Hence, it becomes a herculean task to quickly mobilize a counter- attack or measure whenever the state is attacked or invaded by insurgents. Interestingly, the debate rose to convincing crescendo when the Vice- President (VP), Prof. Yemi Osibanjo supported state police. This was during the National Security Summit organized by the House of Senate on February 8, 2018. He noted that: 

We cannot realistically police a country the size of Nigeria centrally from Abuja. State police and other community policing methods are clearly the way to go (Vanguard, 2018). 

It is not amazing that the V.P is in favour of state police. In fact, he was the Attorney-General when Lagos State propelled the debate, and even the creation of LGAs. However, it must be stated that the preference for state police is a reflection of the efflorescence of centre-fleeing forces which have become disinterested and disillusioned about the over-blurted powers of the Federal Government with 66 items on the exclusive list and 30 for states. In spite of the Federal control for Police, states still subsidize their budget. In some cases, the former solely depend on the latter for day to day operations, yet they do not exercise any iota of control. For instance, Lagos State established the State Traffic Management Authority (LASMA) Kick 

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Against Indiscipline, and the Lagos State Security Trust Fund with Dr. Abdulaza Balogun as the Executive Secretary/CEO. Hospah is in Kano and Kebbi States, and in Rivers State the Neighborhood Watch is in place. All these security outfits are geared towards complementing the functions of the Police. 

The Case against State Police Those who support state police hinge their argument on the rising atmosphere of hopelessness and fear. This cannot be overemphasized, but the remedy cannot be state police. The antagonists argue strongly that state police is a sure way, and a recipe for anarchy, abuse of power and a silhouette for confusion. They emphatically argue that with the obtrusive character of the rulers and the inherent weakness of the State House of Assembly which in most cases are mere ‘robots’ and mimic the thinking of the Governors, it is likely that state police may turn into their a personal security outfit. To create a state police within this democratic void is a plausible way of incubating a political catalyst for disintegration. The demand for state police only reflects the potency of popular despair and disillusionment about Nigerian federalism. But they forget that the practice of federalism is predicated on the historical specificity of a country. Therefore, to copy what obtains in another federal state without regard to national peculiarity may be inviting disaster of unimaginable proportion. The unification of the Nigerian Police in 1930 synchronized with the desire for national unity, and this centre-seeking intent was inserted in the 1979 constitution, and 1999 constitution as amended. The driving principle was to have a Federal Police that would be above regional or state promptings, a remedy to arm-twisting tactics of the Native Authority Police (NAP). Anifowose (1982:94) noted that the Native Authority Law of 1954 in the Northern region became an instrument of coercion and arrest of the opposition parties who breached the stringent conditions of the law. It was also the activities of NAP that heightened the fears of the minorities, and 

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the subsequent appointment of the Minority Fears Commission (MFC) in 1957 headed by Sir Henry Willink. In 1958, 

Its report sought to lay the fears through two cardinal measures, liberal democracy of the west minster model with fundamental human rights guaranteed, the federalization of one police organization (The Nigeria Police) plus the disbandment of Native Authority and Local Government Police elsewhere (Amunwo, Agbaje, Suberu and Herault, 1998:21). 

The commission was mindful of the fact that federalism needs a large dose of democratic etiquette to blossom. Most important is the fact that the problem which all federal nations have to solve is how to secure an efficient central government and preserve national unity (Arikpo, 1967:102). The crisis plaguing Nigerian federalism can be squarely located in the leadership and the undemocratic, authoritarian and neo-patrimonial foundation of the Nigerian state. State police can only exacerbate the crisis rather than mediate or even ensure efficacious handling. Nigeria is a federation of 36 states and 774 LGAs with a capital territory in Abuja. It is sustained by petro-dollars from oil and gas sale since the 1950s. Zeilig (2012:133) pointed out that by 1976, Nigeria was the world’s seventh largest oil producer at two million barrels per day, and by 1978, it was the world’s largest exporter of crude oil. Section 162(1) and (3) of the 1999 constitution as amended stated inter alia that: 

The federation shall maintain a special account to be called ‘the Federation Accounts’ into which shall be paid all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation, except the proceeds of personal income tax of the personnel of armed forces of the Federation, the Nigeria Police Force, the Ministry or 

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Department of Government charged with responsibility for foreign affairs and the residents of the Federal Capital Territory. 

Subsection 3 stated that: 

Any amount standing to the credit of the Federation Account shall be distributed among the federal, state governments and the LGA councils in each state on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly. 

The purport of the above sections is that all money collected and deposited in the Federation Account must be shared among the three tiers of government based on the prescriptions of the Parliament. Since the country relied on oil and gas to fulfill its economic and political obligations, it became inextricably linked to the vicissitudes and vulnerabilities of international oil market. According to Zeilig (2012:137), 

The sole reliance on oil meant that as a result of the precipitous decline in oil production, exportation in the 1980s the government was unable to mediate class contradictions effectively and keep development projects afloat. This was the scenario in the late 2014 and early 2015, when Nigeria lapsed into economic recession because of the all-time fall in the price of oil. This triggered a rising frustration and grinding poverty. Most states had to depend on ball out fund from the Federal Government to honour their statutory obligations, while the latter borrowed the sum of N473 million to pay the salaries of civil servants (The Nation, 2015). A state that depends largely on largesse from above, with minimal internally generated revenue can hardly afford to finance the training and upkeep of a state police. It will 

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only expose a self-evident absurdity and push the people into the opaque tunnel of state of nature. This was why Ayanda (2018) asserted that the creation of state police is a good idea, political maturity is still lacking among the political class at all levels. Indeed, to create a state police would require an amendment of section 214(4) of the 1999 constitution as mended. This would take a long and protracted process. Even if the constitution was amended, the inevitability of flagrant abuse, especially with display of authoritarian conduct, hate speeches and flashes of boiling points witnessed all over the country are signals that the time is not auspicious for state police. Tar (2018), former Commissioner of Police of Lagos State pontificated that: 

The establishment of state police at this time will signal the beginning of disintegration of the country. Apart from some states not being able to maintain power now, some power drunk and ambitious Governors may use the police against their perceived political opponents. A state Commissioner of Police who fails to dance to the tune of his Governor may be sacked. As the forces of globalization grips the global economy, crimes and terrorist activities are no more localized. They can be planned and executed from distant places with sophisticated techniques and weapons. Indeed, distance is no more a barrier to the movement of crime and proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs). No country is immune from the ravages and destructive intent of global crime. The September 11, 2001 bombing in the United States of America (USA) is a case in point: 

Crimes such as kidnapping, trafficking in drugs and human persons, money laundering, are not local. They are crimes beyond the capacity of state police to control. The danger in our democracy does not lie in a central police force, 

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that is too strong but in a local police force that is too weak. Britain, from whom we derived our policing practice, today is moving towards a National Police Force. In 1962, she had 120 police force; in 2011, she had amalgamated the forces into 42. The process is ongoing (Vanguard, 2018). 

State police has the propensity to proliferate SALWs, and is likely that they may fall into unauthorized hands. These arms may be used for political consolidation and gag public opinion. The aftermath would be that the states would be ardently wagging the tail of the national dog, as the regions did in the 1950s. The alarming rate of illegal arms under a central NPF is a straw in the wind for state police. A state glutted with illegal arms can only witness the twilight of good governance and human security. According to the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNCPDA), in 2010 there are 500 million SALWs in West African sub-region, 70% of these are in Nigeria which is 350 million. The Director of UNCPDA, Ige Olatokumbo also asserted that the illicit proliferation of SALWs has had dramatic impact on peace and security in Africa, threatened not only the existence of the state, but also the livelihood of millions of people across the continent (Guardian, 2017). Nigeria is among the global flash points, vulnerable and destination regions. The mindboggling seizure of illegal importation of arms into Nigeria by the Nigerian Custom Service (NCS) affirm the conclusion of UNCPDA on Nigeria. NCS intercepted containers loaded with 1,100 and 470 pieces of pomp action from Turkey in Tin Can Island, Lagos, making a total of 2,671 of such arms seizure in 8 months (The Nation, 2017). The free movement of illegal arms in the country has greatly reduced the legal deterrent of Robbery and Fire Arms (Spoil Provision Act) of 2004, and the Nigeria Fire Arms Act of 1999. These Acts prohibit illegal possession and sale of fire arms. With the worsening economic condition and easy arms procurement, 

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it is not amazing that crime and juvenile delinquency is on the increase. The increasing acts of criminality which has overstretched the competence of the federal government can in no stretch of imagination be handled by states. This is why the mantra for state police at best exude appearances and discountenancing reality. 

Prospects and Challenges 

An examination of the two sides of the argument would discover some positive prospects and possible challenges. State police in Nigeria cannot be waved aside because of its prospect for the security of Nigeria. The country is anchored on a federal foundation. It therefore, demands that the component units must have a sense of belonging and security in the federal arrangement. In fact, the strength of a federal state lies in the unwavering solidarity of the units who have agreed to come together, for the unity and prospects of the federal state. To do otherwise, therefore, is to hype the drumbeat of succession and alienation. It is against this backdrop that many federal states are in the process of reviewing their federal systems in order to retain their relevance to their societies (Amunwo et al, 1999:3). Decentralizing security matters has the prospect of creating employment, restoring peace and ensuring a sense of belonging within the federation. It would prevent needless killing of people by extremist insurgents. Unfortunately, the expected prospects can only be a flash in the pan. The attendant challenges are potentially enormous. The danger of SALWs proliferation, rigorous constitutional amendment to insert the new thinking and the character of the rulers who have come to see themselves as irreplaceable personalities and intolerable to alternative views, have become worrisome. The crisis of Nigerian federalism may not have been engendered by fears of over bust centralism (Amunwo et al, 1999:19), but by grand corruption, exclusive governance, social injustices, and unchecked primordial outburst. With state police, the challenge of regulating its use may be difficult. This would exacerbate the already 

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volatile security situation in the country. When security matters are decentralized, especially in an in environment where discipline and law are not respected, the challenge of protection of persons and property becomes insurmountable. This was why the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition and other Related Materials, stated in article 3 that member States shall ban the transfer of small arms and light weapons and their manufacturing materials into their national territory or from/through their national territory. 

Conclusion and Recommendations 

Nigeria is a country with a strong prospect to be among the developed world. The colonial experience laced with flashes of brutality, divide and rule tactics, and economic exploitation ended with independence on October 1, 1960. The independence heralded rising expectations, hope and pride. Regrettably, those who inherited political power instituted a system of Nigerian dictatorship over Nigerians. The country was hinged on a federal principle to advance unity in diversity. This was after a rigorous constitutional process. 

One of the federal initiatives geared towards national unity is the NPF. Before the 1930 Police unification, the Native Authority Ordinance No. 4 of 1916, the Protectorate Laws (Enforcement) Ordinance No. 5 of 1924 and other statutes gave the NA powers to control the police force. The 1963 constitution also made provision for Regional Police. But this was reversed in the 1979 and 1999 constitution as amended. 

By the 21st century, the Federal Government was inundated with the demand for state police. This was precipitated by the current wave of insecurity in the country and growing centralism. Nevertheless, to institute a state police within the present undemocratic order is a sure recipe for disaster. The efficacy of federalism lies not in complete decentralization, but in commitment in the survival of the federal experiment, tolerance, and respect for democratic etiquette and transformational leadership. Any 

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country that distracts from these principles, especially in this epoch of globalization will swim in the cesspool of hurly-burley. In conclusion, therefore, state police in Nigeria can be likened to throwing away the bad water with the innocent baby. We must exhaust our democratic frontiers and federal fortune in line with our national peculiarities before advocating for state police. 

Recommendations (i) NPF can effectively discharge their functions if competent and dedicated personnel are recruited without resort to prependal attachment. (ii) NPF must be trained and retrained at all times so that they can be equipped to be abreast of the best state practices in law enforcement. (iii) The controllers of power must resist the temptation of using law enforcement agencies to flout democratic tenets for pecuniary benefits. (iv) The law must not be a respecter of persons. A breach of any section of the constitution must be sanctioned without regard to any exogenous influence. It is the protection of criminals and weakness of the NPF that has led to the clamour for state police and private security arrangement. 

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