Former DIG calls for state police

A retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Mr Chris Omeben, has lent his voice to the clamour for the creation of state police in Nigeria.

Omeben, who turns 80 on Oct. 27, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.

It will be recalled that for years, different State Governments, groups and individuals have been clamouring for the creation of state police, arguing that it would address the problems of high-profile killings, kidnappings and crimes in general.

They also argue that creation of state police would help to create jobs and instil sense of security among the populace as it would enable indigenes of any community “to identify who is who’’.

The National Conference convoked by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan listed the issue of creation of state police among “no go areas’’.

Omeben told NAN: “I was opportune to be a Deputy Inspector-General of Police and right from our days there has been this clamour.

“I whole heartedly support the creation of state police for a very simple reason that it will check the incessant cases of abuse by policemen and the high and mighty in society.

“Before, we had local, state police in the Eastern Region, the old Bendel State part of which is now Edo State, the Western Region and even the Northern Region and they did wonderful jobs.’’

The retired police chief said that the clamour for state police now was because of the visible successes recorded by the local outfits then.

He recalled that there was a time that the police had about 40,000 personnel “which was said to be good at that time’’.

With that situation, he said, Nigerians then asked for an Inspector-General of Police, Deputy Inspector-General of Police and other positions.

“But what is the current situation of the police? The population of the force is now over 200,000. How do you expect 200,000 people to be handled the same way 40,000 were handled? It is not possible.

“I believe that every state should own a police and also have a Commissioner of Police, and we shall also have the federal police who will have an Inspector-General who will take care of standards.

“All the forces must have the same standard and uniform all over the states but with the highest person in the state being a Commissioner of Police.

“The federal police should handle federal cases or matters which are above the state power,’’ he told NAN.

On the worsening cases of crime and traffic in Lagos, the former DIG said that the government should ban mobile shops and hawking on roads in the state.

“It will reduce robbery and harassment by criminals on the roads during gridlocks.

“I was glad when two years ago, the government planned to introduce a body to stop assault on the roads, especially during gridlocks.

“The Nigerian police also have their own problems too. We have some police officers who take part in some notorious acts on the roads,’’ he said.

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