March 30th, 2010
systems come and go as evidenced in every past and present
constitutional democracy. Effective governance certainly
calls for progressive initiatives in the face of changing
demographics, mobilizing territories and expanding
communities. The same should go for any able presidential
and executive-oriented democracy.
The Nigeria of today which is being powered by the 1999
Constitution calls for realistic federal, state and local
freedoms for its people and any law abiding persons.
But the existing security system called the Nigeria Police
Force which is national in body and practice has not stood
up as a democratic institution in the face of our rapidly
expanding society. In reality, it is no fault of any one
individual in the police leadership that adequate
maintenance of peace appeared to be over the control of a
centralized security operation.
Contemporary Nigeria now have thirty six states with
competing structures marked with different levels of
resources, different amount of populations, and different
kind of community sensibilities. Along with these
characteristics are neighboring environments with towns and
corners as well as neighborhoods where dialects, habits,
customs, relationships and circumstances remain in operation
sometime in different ways.
These regional and communal demands no doubt appeals more
for state managed policing.
Let it be clear that the historical nature of regional
policing which once existed in Nigeria as local policing
under the British colonial power and the Nigeria Republic of
1960/1963 came about mainly due to selfish, alien and
imposing considerations and nothing else. However, the
national polity and psyche of the society is institutionally
different at this time
In a society that is continuously struggling with basic
social infrastructures common in healthy democracies as it
relates to street lights, roads, telephones, and other
physical operatives further make local security hands more
essential. The fundamental works of policing in most
progressive societies have always being in the area of
social welfare services and peace-making which aligns much
more with local needs and security.
The national interest in the area of law and order could be
served better as different state governments more fully and
severely take greater interest in protecting its people and
State police systems have multiple benefits. One super
benefit is serving as a major source of labor for young
adult men and women from different localities.
In every presidential system, states are generally supposed
to be strong under effective governors who independently
could promptly and vigorously foil turmoil, mass chaos or
open danger without waiting for federally controlled
authorities. Under the current security system, police
commissioners in each state answers directly and takes order
first from the IG (Inspector General of police), a federal
appointee in the capital, leaving the state governors
helpless as information is slow to be processed.
The idea that independent regional policing could breed
misuse by local politicians, business men and officials
within states is more likely to be watered down under state
watch where over sight boards manned by local authorities
(state managed courts) have been known to be more effective.
Various states along with local universities both private
and non private, could become effective sponsors of up to
date criminal justice training with more specialized
areas(e.g. psychology, community relations, forensic and
others) occurring, which could make police work more
attractive to the public service –minded individuals.
The long standing police issues like poor pay, poor
accommodation, broken communication systems, used up
equipments, poor crime report statistics, deplorable
transportations, violence-prone acts, bribery-prone
behaviors and other deficiencies could be reduced
drastically as different states could more likely expend
monies and resources on their security measures which
include those enforcing laws to protect people.
The long history and mounting issue of tribal, ethnic,
religious as well as legal (common law/sharia) lines that
continue to stain the institutional progress and stability
of the nation could be strongly reduced as police personnel
will be more reflective of the values and beliefs of their
As we enter the 21st century deeper and deeper, the use of
presidential power, the push for legislative initiatives,
and the engagement of modern scholars in criminal justice
and in professional behaviorism as well as the use of other
collaborative minds should now begin to attend to this
Sooner or later a constitutional amendment will take on this
matter not only in the area of policing but across other
security systems , so why not begin the process now, if only
for the sake of quick and effective protection of the entire
federalism.-a true one at best.
John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D, is a
practicing clinical/forensic psychologist and the Interim
Associate Dean of Behavioral Science at Broward College,
Coconut Creek, Florida. email@example.com,