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Nigeria: Opposition Party PDP Demands State Police, Power Devolution

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday advocated the creation of state police, border protection council and devolution of powers to address the spike in insecurity in the country. In

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday advocated the creation of state police, border protection council and devolution of powers to address the spike in insecurity in the country.

In a speech titled: ‘Nigeria must not fail,’ read at a world press conference in Abuja, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, said the main opposition party also recommended the immediate upscaling of the personnel strength of the military and paramilitary organisations as well as the provisions of the kinetic instruments of war and law enforcement.

He said: “Our armed forces should be adequately equipped and their welfare a top priority.” 

PDP said efforts should be made towards partnering foreign governments and miscellaneous entities to help Nigeria combat insecurity.

“The situation in our country is not normal and exceptional steps should be taken to restore it to normalcy. The PDP, as a body, is willing to give a helping hand in this direction,” the party added.

The PDP called for the establishment of state police.

 “We call on all citizens to support the quest for state police as is the tradition in other federations. Mindful of the current plethora of vigilante in various parts of the country, which have not been enabled to carry out all the elements of effective policing, we call on the governors of the 36 states, the leadership and members of the National Assembly, the speakers of the state Assemblies, relevant agencies of government, to occasion a summit for a one-stop-shop regarding the creation, structure and management of state police,” PDP stated.

The party also called for the deployment of technology in the fight against terror, banditry, and other crimes.

The PDP demanded that all culprits should be brought to book, stressing that the apparent failure of intelligence to track attacks by bandits and follow up on them was a clear failure of the intelligence community.

The party noted that the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), established many years ago by a PDP administration, was designed for this purpose and others.

It recommended that the states where matters of national security challenges that originated or existed should be invited to the National Security Council meeting for deliberation and problem-solving interactions.

“We call for the creation of National Boarders Protection Force to secure our borders. This will include an integrated border protection system that will draw personnel and equipment from existing armed service and immigration.

“We cannot continue to watch while terrorists and bandits continue to levy war on our nation, through our porous borders. This border force should be equipped with reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, prevention, and enforcement. It should, therefore, have air, sea, and land capability,” PDP said.

The party also called for synergy and cooperation among the armed services both strategically and operationally.

According to the party, there is no reason a theatre commander should not have within his control the deployment of the air force, the army and the navy in his operational area.

It added: “All culprits, who have levied war on Nigeria, should be brought to book. It is unfathomable that several mass kidnappings have been successfully staged with the culprits not being held to account. It is a shameful irony that a few bandit leaders that have been taken out were killed by rival gangs and not our security agencies.

“If Sheik Gumi could detect and engage the bandits, we do not understand why our security agencies cannot track, arrest, and prosecute them.”

It called on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to shed weight on arrogance, lack of respect for Nigerians and its pretence of being an island of integrity.

PDP said Buhari should begin to engage the citizens directly.

“He should address the nation on the various issues escalating tension in the land and pushing the nation farther to the tips of a precipice.

“It is serious political malpractice, for Mr. President to stand aloof, say nothing, do nothing and simply wish that the problems will somehow go away. It is a great disservice to the Nigerian people for Mr. President to abandon his presidential duties to two media handlers who resort to issuing meaningless and annoying press statements in the name of an amorphous and questionable organisation called ‘The presidency’. Enough of trivialising governance and trifling with the lives, livelihoods and wellbeing of the Nigerian people,” PDP stated.

The party called on the federal government to stop borrowing.

“Our future generations are being mortgaged and railroaded into an avoidable debt trap. APC should do away with their nepotism and hire experts that will help creatively navigate the nation through the dire economic challenges they have led the nation into,” it said.

It raised the alarm that the country is bleeding economically, adding that the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) must be investigated and oversight by the parliament.

“The topsy-turvy situation where Mr. President, who is the Minister of Petroleum, approves oil wells only to reverse himself in a matter of weeks as demonstrated in the case of Addax and Kaztech/Slavic consortium (OMLs 123, 124, 126 and 137) and others like that should be investigated,” it said.

The party blamed the tension and current separatist agitations threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria on what it described as the perfunctory management of diversity by the federal government.

“Worse still, instead of engaging Nigerians, this administration resorts to harassment and intimidation of voices of dissent,” the party added.

In calling for devolution of powers, the party said: “We call for the devolution of more powers to the states and local governments.”

PDP expressed worries over the delay in the passage of the new electoral law ahead of the 2023 general election.

It stated: “It is worrisome that the report of the National Assembly Joint Committee on INEC, which finished its work since February 2021, is yet to be laid in the two chambers of the National Assembly.

“We are aware that the work of the committee, which also benefitted from the Joint Technical Committee on the Repeal and Re-enactment of the Electoral Act comprising select members of the National Assembly, INEC, the civil society, and other experts made far-reaching recommendations that would benefit our electoral system and democracy.

“This includes early primaries, such that if approved by the National Assembly and signed by the president, INEC is expected to call for nominations in February 2022, while political parties will have until July 2022 to conduct primaries and submit a list of their candidates.”

PDP added that it was unimaginable that terrorists, who had been pushed out to the fringes by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, leading to the successful conduct of elections of 2015, have since boldly reasserted themselves and are now taking territories in five local governments of Niger State, which is only two hours from Abuja.

The party said it was also important to note that the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, who by his position, is armed with credible intelligence, raised the alarm that terrorists and bandits were making inroads into the towns in Kaduna State.

“Also, noteworthy is the alarm raised by the Governor of Nasarawa State, Sule Abdullahi, that Boko Haram was occupying territories in his state. A strategic and intelligent interpretation of these is that Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is surrounded. Presently, the nation has witnessed an upsurge of kidnapping in the FCT, further giving vent to the assertions of the governors,” the party added.

The party alleged that no fewer than 741 Nigerians were murdered by bandits and terrorists between January and April.

Chuks Okocha in Abuja