Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF, Salihu Lukman has called on the Federal Government to allow for the creation of State Police in the wake of rising attacks on schools, saying the current situation is no longer acceptable.
Lukman in a statement issued Monday in Abuja also challenged the political class and subnational entities to complement efforts of the federal government to reduce mass poverty which he described as the factory producing kidnappers, bandits, and terrorists.
The PGF boss queried why the ruling All Progressives Congress APC would set up the Gov. Nasir el-Rufai Committee on True Federalism which among other things recommended the creation of State Police if it knew it would not implement the committee’s recommendations.
He said; “With all these sad reality of our existential threats in the country, which is destroying our educational sector, we are debating whether we should have state police or not.
He added that anybody debating whether or not to have state police is simply part of the problem.
How many private securities are guarding our homes? With all that is happening to our schools, isn’t it a case that requires the establishment of armed police station in each school to guarantee the safety of our children? Can this be provided by the Nigeria Police as it is constituted today? Isn’t this a challenge requiring emergency response? “How can the lives of school children be so threatened, and we are busy debating politics? Our leaders in APC must wake up and stop all the hesitation around consideration of the APC True Federalism Report.
Outside the simplistic strategy of promoting our political choices, it is equally important that we wake up to the reality that high levels of poverty have produced really unimaginable existential threats both for citizens and for the nation. Daily, lives are being lost, individual liberties and freedoms are under permanent threats, property and livelihoods are being destroyed.
Every Nigerian today lives with the fear of one form of threat or the other.
The North East has been ravaged by Boko Haram for more than 10 years. The problems of banditry and kidnappings are gradually taking over the North West and North Central. “We may delude ourselves into all the debate based on the reckless consideration of amnesty and divisive ethnic and religious propaganda.
The reality is that criminal activities of banditry, kidnappings and abduction of innocent school children are emerging to be very lucrative economic activities in the country. It is now a sophisticated business network with frontend that may involve people and institutions that are least suspected.
For instance, how is it possible that tens and hundreds of people would be abducted without any trace? Wouldn’t they pass through towns, villages, and communities? Along the routes they passed, wouldn’t there be police and security posts/stations, traditional and religious leaders that could confirm suspicious movements? “As Nigerians and especially those of us who are members of APC, we must work hard to push our leaders to combine military and security strategy with successful implementation of ambitious national initiatives to lift Nigerians out of poverty.
So long as we have Nigerians living in conditions of extreme poverty, crime rates, including banditry, kidnapping and abduction of innocent school children will remain high.
Reducing this challenge to issues of enforcement of law and order alone will be insufficient.
The factory that produces bandits, kidnappers, abductors and insurgents is the very condition that holds more than 100 million Nigerians below the poverty line”, he stated.