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Nigeria Too Large for Only Federal Police to Safeguard, Says Obasanjo 

He said the current security situation in the country called for the licensing of private guards to provide security for citizens.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Thursday, at a book launch, argued that the country was too large to have one federal police to safeguard the whole country.
This is as he frowned at a whopping one hundred and fifty thousand out of the three hundred and fifty thousand officers guarding private and influential citizens in the country, saying the current security situation of the country called for the licensing of private guards to provide security for citizens.
The former President, who spoke at the launch of a book, “Policing The Nigeria Police”, written by Chief Simon Okeke, a former official of Police Service Commission at the Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja also frowned at the unwillingness of the office of the inspector general police to work in line with recommendations from the Police Service Commission (PSC).
Obasanjo said, “The current state of policing this country is unacceptable. We can’t have one federal police for a population of 216 million people. Worse still, is the fact that 150,000 out of the 350,000 Officers are guiding important persons.”
While highlighting the content of the book, Obasanjo said licensing of private guards to take up the role of providing security for personalities was imminent.
“I think private guards can be licensed to provide security for private citizens,” he said.
On state police, Obasanjo explained that countries like Columbia, which abolished their state police had to return to it.
According to him, the PSC ACT of 2001 was robust enough but contended that the Inspectors General of Police were reluctant to submit to the supervision of PSC.
“IGPs take more than their mandate permits. The current structure of the Nigerian Police is not closer to the people, hence state police is inevitable”, he said, adding that, the fear of abuse by governors was tenable but safeguards could be put in place like in pre-Independence Nigeria.
“The so-called fear of abuse by governors, is the federal police not being abused one way or the other? We can retrace our steps back to what it used to be. Countries like Columbia, who earlier abolished state police had to return to it,” he explained.
He said the problem was not about enabling laws but the unwillingness of Inspectors General of Police to respect the the oversight functions of the PSC.
“The problem is not about enabling laws. The Police Service Commission, PSC, ACT of 2001 is enough law. The painful reality is that the IGPs are not ready to submit to the supervision of PSC,” Obasanjo said.
Earlier, a former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, commended the author for putting the book together in such a time he described as timely.
He described Chief Okeke as a patriotic Nigerian with sound knowledge and intellectual ability to dissect complex dialogue and one who gave “recommendations that shaped the the Police Service Commission and entire Nigerian Police Force.”
He said it was “indeed for this that today his tenure at the Commission has become a reference point in the discourse on police oversight functions.
“With his wealth of knowledge, it would have been a disservice to the nation if Chief Okeke did not document his experiences in the service. With all these in perspective, I have no doubt that policing in Nigeria today, is as formative as it is, would not only enrich the scope of the knowledge of oversight but it will also open new grounds that will deepen the discuss”
“It is my expectations that this robust document, will add value to due process in our beloved country,” Arase said.
Ray Ekpu, the Director of May 5, urged Nigerians to speak against anomalies in the Nigerian Police, and bemoaned the continuous deployment of officer for the security of private persons against the overwhelming majority of our citizens, saying even the 350,000 Police Force has not met the the United Nations recommendation.

“While we are complaining that the country has not met the United Nations recommendation for standard policing, whopping 150,000 personal are guiding few private citizens,” said Ekpu.

Speaking on behalf of his father, Atakpo Okeke, recounted the role of his father whom he said lived an exemplary life and left his name in the sand of time.

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